Ty Law Sweepstakes Heating Up - Part 1

The New England Patriots star defender Ty Law has been rehabbing his injuries and biding his time as the June 1st date for roster cuts approaches. With a little less then a month to go till "Cut Day", and injuries taking their toll on depth charts around the league, more teams are taking a closer look at Law and what he can do for them in 2005. Patriots Insider takes a look at where Law has been, and where he may end up.

PHOTO: New England Patriots cornerback Ty Law returns and interception against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI (AP Photo)

Ty Law Sweepstakes Heating Up - Part 1
With injuries taking their toll Law may get his chance soon
Patriots Insider Staff

It's just possible that Ty Law will find a way to capitalize on the misfortunes of others during the offseason. The latest bout of bad news, arrived via MRI in Miami, where starting cornerback Will Poole has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, ending his season. Adding Law would allow the Dolphins to focus on the rest of their needs on offense, and replacing other components on an aging defense.

Law suffered his own misfortune on Halloween night 2004, in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. On the notoriously poor surface known as Heinz Field Law twisted his leg and heard a pop in his foot. He knew immediately something was wrong. That something it turns out was a broken bone in his foot, also known as a Lis Franc injury.

That injury sidelined the Patriots all-pro for the rest of the 2004 season. Law had hoped to return to the field late in the playoffs, possibly in time for the Super Bowl, but it became obvious late in the regular season it wasn't going to happen. Law ended up on IR and watched his team go on to defeat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX with two young players, Randall Gay and Asante Samuel.

Law, who was due a roster bonus just prior to the start of free agency, understood the team's position of not wanting to pay to keep the 10-year vet on the roster at such a high cap number. Law's cap number was $12.5 million, with nearly $9 million of it in new money. The team had to address his contract, and was talking to him about restructuring his deal.

As events turned out, Law, who's represented by the notorious Poston brothers, was asking for a much larger signing bonus and overall deal than the Patriots were willing to offer. They voiced their desire to retain their starting cornerback, but at a price they could afford. Unfortunately Law's demands made through the Postons' were too high for a player coming off an injury, and he was granted his release in late February.

Law spoke with ESPN after receiving word of his release and made a point to talk about his desire to return in spite of his contract demands.

"I always wanted to retire a Patriot," Law said. "I've been around here for a lot of years. But unfortunately, a lot of players don't get a chance to finish their careers with their teams. I'm looking forward to what's ahead."

Fellow secondary teammate Rodney Harrison was a victim of the cap in San Diego where coach Marty Schottenheimer believed he could move forward without the veteran leader. He (Harrison) had an offer from the Raiders who needed a solid player at safety, but he chose the Patriots, in part because of what New England had for talent. He voiced his disappointment in Law's release.

"If you play long enough and make enough money, it's going to happen to you," Harrison said. "It's inevitable. It happened to me. It's a tremendous blow to our team. He's a warrior. I'm definitely going to miss him because he was one of the reasons I signed here."

Even head coach Bill Belichick had thoughts on the process of moving forward without the veterans who helped get the team to the top. "Companies take care of it differently. They have forced retirement," Belichick said. "They make you retire when you're 62 or 64 or 65 or whatever it is so they don't have to go to somebody who has been with their company for 35 years and say, 'it's time for you to move on.' It's structured so they can get out of it gracefully with a corporate plan that takes care of that. That's not the way it is in the NFL."

Where does this leave Law now?

We address those options, and who he's been talking to in part two of this article.

Related: Ty Law's Options - Part 2

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