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Sauerbrun Free To Join Broncos

Sauerbrun bids adieu to the Patriots!
Todd Sauerbrun is once again a free agent.  The former Bronco, who attempted to return to the team as a free agent, before a clause in his contract allowed the Patriots to match the offer, won his greivance hearing in a decision handed down today in Boston.

The Patriots, never onoes to miss a loophole, left one open for the longtime punter by not creating a special attachment for the clause that allowed the Patriots the right to first refusal, a clause extremely rare for players with as much service as Sauerbrun.

Sauerbrun signed a contract with the Patriots last fall that had a first right of refusal provision, giving the team seven days to match any offer Sauerbrun might receive in free agency in 2007. The CBA states such clauses must be put on a separate page and not on a page that explains the main terms of the contract.

For whatever reason, the Patriots put the right to match on the contract term sheet.

The Broncos signed Sauerbrun to a one-year, $820,000 contract and Sauerbrun wanted to go to Denver. The Patriots matched.

The Pats loss figures to be the Broncos gain, with the punter now free to sign a contract with any team he would like.  Seeing he had a contract in place with the Broncos 2 weeks ago, it would be safe to assume that the Broncos will be that team.

"He is free," said attorney Jeff Kessler, the outside counsel for the NFL Players' Association who argued the case. "I assume a team he might sign with is Denver but that is between him and the Broncos. Todd is completely unrestricted."

A hat-tip to MattR for the link to the Denver Post story.

UPDATE -- 4/19 -- Todd Sauerbrun will return to the Broncos, with the team agreeing to a 1-year deal with Todd for the second time in two weeks.