Rangers' general manager Glen Sather was engaged in an extended dialog with both Shea Weber and Nashville GM David Poile aimed at bringing the franchise defenseman to Broadway before the Group II free agent signed a dramatically front-loaded offer sheet with the Flyers late Wednesday night. The deal is worth $110 million over 14 years, The Post has learned.

Sources said the Blueshirts were prepared to either extend an offer sheet to Weber or effect a trade with the Predators for the 26-year-old's rights in advance of signing him to a lifetime contract. Their efforts failed because of Weber's aversion to living in Manhattan, where nearly all of the Rangers live, and because of his belief that living in Westchester County would have isolated him from teammates.

Thus, Weber chose to sign the offer sheet with the Flyers, nearly all of whom live in the suburbs in close proximity to the club's practice rink in Voorhees, N.J.

The Predators have seven days to match the offer sheet, under which Weber is due to be paid $56 million the first four years of the deal, including $52 million in signing bonuses ($13 million per year); and $80 million the first six years of the contract, including $68 million in signing bonuses (another $8 million per).