3:55pm: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe weighs in, agreeing with Olney's optimism for a deal but saying Beckett's agent currently seeks a five-year extension in excess of John Lackey's $82.5MM. WEEI's Rob Bradford talked to Beckett, who is mostly staying out of the negotiations between the team and agent Michael Moye.
Olney envisions a total package in the $65-70MM range. His colleague Gordon Edes wrote on Saturday that "concerns about Beckett's right shoulder have dissuaded the Red Sox from going to a fifth year."
Beckett projects as one of the best available free agent starters after the 2010 season, and with a strong season he could conceivably get a sixth guaranteed year on the open market. Cliff Lee, Javier Vazquez, and Brandon Webb will also be eligible for free agency after the season if they're not signed to extesions.