Stallworth is expected to become a free agent, while Gaffney may get re-signed before the deadline. Rosenhaus characterized the discussions today outside the main media room at the Combine.
"We have been talking to [the Patriots] about both players (Gaffney and Stallworth)," said Rosenhaus." My sense is that it's more likely that Donte will become a free agent. And Jabar we're still talking to the team about that."
Stallworth signed a multiyear deal with the Patriots in 2007 structured in a way that would allow the wide receiver to join the Patriots an affordable price, while allowing the team to retain Stallworth by paying an $8 million option bonus on March 1st. The deal included incentives that paid Stallworth $1 million signing bonus, a $1.6 million roster bonus and a $300,000 workout bonus all earned in 2007. The March 1st bonus includes incentives that could boost the cost to $11 million. The total package has another option in it which could keep Stallworth a member of the Patriots for 6 years and $33 million.
With Stallworth most likely not returning to the Patriots in 2008, Gaffney's situation becomes more critical for the team. Rosenhaus has an obvious interest in positioning both players for the best possible deal. This may be one of those cases where having the same agent as another player on the same team can be more of a hindrance rather than a help in getting those players to re-sign with the same team.
Patriots' linebacker Larry Izzo will be returning to the New England Patriots for the 2008 season. When asked about the status of Izzo's pending free agency, Rosenhaus indicated both sides had come to an agreement.
"Larry Izzo and I have agreed on a one-year deal with the Patriots," Rosenhaus said.
The one-year status is all New England needs as they shore up a valuable member
of the special teams unit. Izzo has some experience playing linebacker with
the starting defense, but plays mostly as a reserve backer.