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The New England Patriots almost dealt holdout defensive back...

By PETER MAY, UPI Sports Writer

FOXBORO, Mass. -- The New England Patriots almost dealt holdout defensive back Mike Haynes to the Raiders but the deal fell through when Los Angeles did not meet the well-known asking price until after the trading deadline, a team official said Wednesday.

Patriots General Manager Patrick Sullivan said the Raiders finally agreed to New England's asking price of a first and third-round draft choice for Haynes shortly before 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday. The trading deadline expired at 4 p.m.

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Los Angeles Managing General Partner Al Davis, who had made at least three offers for Haynes earlier in the day before meeting New England's price, said he thought the Patriots should appeal to the league to approve the trade. Sullivan said he agreed at first, but then decided the league was correct.

'You can't keep making exceptions to the rules,' Sullivan said. 'It's a logical, legitimate position. I was mad last night, but I think the league made the right choice. There will be no appeal. It's cut and dried.'

Asked why Davis didn't simply meet the Patriots' asking price before the deadline and thus avoid the problem, Sullivan said, 'I don't know. It was no mystery, everyone knew what we wanted. Their offer five minutes before the deadline was nowhere near a No. 1 and a No. 3.'

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'I don't know if anyone is to blame,' Sullivan added.

Haynes, a free agent, has been a holdout despite having an offer before him which Sullivan said would make the seven-year veteran the highest paid defensive back in the NFL. The offer is for more than $400,000 a year.

Davis, who earlier this season acquired Patriots Don Hasselbeck and Shelby Jordan, had verbally agreed to terms with Haynes. After acquiring the six-time All-Pro, he was then going to trade a player to Tampa Bay for a draft choice.

After the deadline expired, AFC West contenders San Diego and Seattle, who backed off a deal for Haynes because of the asking price, called the commissioner's office to make sure no deal could be made. The league called Sullivan around 4:30 p.m. to ask how the deal was progressing.

'They asked us then if we had a deal. We said no. Al had made a proposal for an extension. We finally got what we were looking for at 4:50 to 4:55 p.m.,' Sullivan said. 'I understand how Seattle and San Diego felt. If we're tied for first place with the Jets and they make a deal after the deadline, we're going to be upset, too.'

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Haynes cannot sign with any other NFL team but the Patriots. Haynes and his agent, Howard Slusher, were to meet with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL later in the week. Sullivan said he's willing to risk losing Haynes but is convinced the cornerback won't get a better offer.

'Is there a price where we'll bow out, take our lumps, and get nothing? Yes, there is. But what that price is, I don't know. And I don't believe Mike wants to leave,' he said.

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