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Sure, offensive line is a boring position. You never want to be the offensive lineman when playing flag football, unless you’re allowed to option yourself as a receiver when the “protection” breaks down. However in the NFL, offensive line work is a serious business, as your job as a center, guard, or tackle, is to protect the franchise quarterback at all costs.
Two-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, 28, has been pretty damn good at his position during his career. He came into the league as a first round pick in 2005, and has started every game since for the Pats, protecting Tom Brady (and Matt Cassel) and making room for the running game.
The Patriots tendered a $3.268 million contract to Mankins, which the guard had until Monday to accept. Instead, he opted to ignore the offer, allowing the Pats to reduce his 2010 salary to 110% of his 2009 pay grade, which roughly translates to $1.54 million. On Monday, Mankins expressed his desire to leave the organization.
“At this point, I’m pretty frustrated, from everything that’s happened and the way negotiations have gone,’’ he told ESPN Boston. “I want to be traded. I don’t need to be here anymore.’’
The tender offered to Mankins protected the Pats in case he received an offer sheet from another team. If he signed somewhere else, the Pats would have received first and third round picks as compensation. No team offered Mankins a contract, and now he sits in no man’s land.
If you only have listened to Logan Mankins during these ongoing contract talks, he’d have you believe that the Pats are a bunch of liars and don’t care whether or not the guard stays or goes.
“After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that Mr. Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the [NFL labor situation],’’ Mankins said. “I was asked to play ’09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I’m a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
“Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man’s word is his bond. Obviously this isn’t the case with the Patriots.’’
Mankins obviously is frustrated with the team, and wants his family to be taken care of long term given the unstable NFL market.
OK, this section is a joke, of course. Belichick never publicly discusses contract negotiations. In fact, he didn’t even say anything when asked why Mankins wasn’t at mandatory mini-camp.
“Right now we’re just focused on coaching the players that are here. We’ll go out and get things done, hopefully have a good practice today. A situation between anybody and club, a contract situation, that’s between player and club.”
Did you expect a Belichick response anyway?
Mankins would have you believe the Patriots have not offered him any long term deal. That’s not true, an NFL source confirmed to the Boston Globe.
A five-year deal worth approximately $7 million per year has been on the table “for a significant amount of time.” There was no word on the exact details of the offer, or how much money Mankins would receive within the first three years.
Saints guard Jhari Evans set the bar at a high level, when the restricted free agent signed a seven-year, $56.7 million pact worth a reported $25.7 million over the first three years, according to the Globe.
One would imagine that Mankins may be seeking a seven-year offer, which would likely increase the amount he’d receive within the first three years of the deal.
The Patriots could explore trading Mankins, but there’s no official word that they’re even entertaining offers. According to the Globe’s Shalise Manza Yong, Kansas City, Dallas, Green Bay, and St. Louis are “among teams in need of offensive line help.”
To become an unrestricted free agent next season (and free to sign with any other team), Mankins would need to play a sixth season with the team. He technically could hold out until Week 10, and play the remainder of the year and he would be eligible for free agency in the following year.
From the looks of it, it would appear Mankins has already played his last game in a Pats uniform.