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Logan Mankins’ on-going dispute with the Patriots has recently gotten uglier than his beard. Deals have been offered, changed, rejected, and even compared to certain irrelevant contracts crafted by the New Orleans Saints.
More recently, matters seem to have reached the point of no return.
Frank Bauer, Mankins’ agent, told the Boston Globe his client is no longer interested in playing in Foxboro.
“They have totally lost this player mentally,” Bauer said.
He went on to cite disagreements in contract lengths, called comparing the situation to the Saints’ Jahri Evans deal “apples and oranges,” and has even claimed the Patriots are “taking this back to the old school, like it’s [the] ’80s again.”
As a result, the Patriots have been put in a situation where, in order for any hope for him to show up next to Dan Koppen this year, they will need to place him on the roster exempt list. The potential stipulations of the roster exempt list make the chances he will play for the Pats this year even thinner, as he will have to miss out on a certain number of games depending on when, or if, he signs a contract. Chances are, it seems, Mankins will be moved to the list, and he will eventually cut ties with the organization that he thinks has slighted him.
“For this young man to work like he has and play for the club for five years, and be promised he’d be taken care of, and to throw the offer they did across the table?” Bauer said, commenting on the insult associated with the contract dispute, according to the Globe.
“They have to do what they have to do, and we’ll do what we have to do,” he added
Where to go from here…
So, as the Patriots prepare for a season with Dan Connolly at left guard, what can they look forward to if they trade Mankins away? The guy was one of the Patriots’ best first-round picks in a decade full of quality first-round picks. He hit the starting lineup immediately, going on to join the all-rookie team and, eventually, earn a spot on the all-pro team and the AFC’s starting Pro Bowl lineup in two different seasons. Also notably, he accomplished a full 16-game season in 2007 while allowing only one sack. As a 28-year-old, he is experienced, but still young enough to offer another team a solid five or six productive years. Also boosting Mankins trade value is his versatility, as he has played guard since his introduction to the NFL after making a seamless transition from his career as a tackle at Fresno State.
A 28-year-old offensive lineman with a resume like Mankins’ is undoubtedly attractive to any team, but not so many are going to be willing to give up what it will take to get him. The prime markets for Mankins will probably be teams that are looking to win it all this year, as the Patriots are unlikely to let him go without receiving a draft pick.
The one piece of the puzzle the Green Bay Packers seem to be missing is a consistent offensive line. They have a reliable running back in Ryan Grant, a solid one-two punch for wide receivers in Greg Jennings and the seemingly ageless Donald Driver, and only need some solid blockers to protect their franchise quarterback, who may have been the best in the NFC if he wasn’t sacked 50 times (yeah, 50 times) last season. Their defense was surprisingly tough last season, and, with the league talking them up as Super Bowl contenders this year, they seem like a perfect candidate to offer a package deal involving a first or second round pick for Mankins.
The Dallas Cowboys may also be interested in Mankins, as a recent shake-up has people wondering what to expect from their offensive line this season. They cut Flozell Adams, and neglected to draft an o-lineman, allowing Doug Free to take over at left tackle. As the Cowboys are looking to take advantage of a division full of questionable teams, they might look to bolster their offensive line to further protect Tony Romo, who has been unreliable in the playoffs when defenses apply some pressure. Also, as the team has announced the injury-prone Felix Jones as their starting running back, bringing in a tested offensive guard to protect him from big hits by defensive tackles and middle linebackers would be a good investment.
Another contender could be the Tennessee Titans, who could use a solid presence in the middle to open holes for their entire offense (Chris Johnson), and give Vince Young a little bit more time to occasionally act like a pocket quarterback.
The Atlanta Falcons had a disappointing season last year, but have the-next-big-thing under center in former BC Eagle Matt Ryan, as well as one of the best running backs in the NFL in Michael “The Burner” Turner. It is more than likely they will trail the Saints in the division this year, but they are a top contender for a Wild Card spot and could become a troublemaker in the playoffs with a more consistent offensive line.
Of course, if the Patriots can come to an agreement with Mankins and put this whole ordeal behind them, then putting him back in the lineup is obviously the best possible outcome.
But, that doesn’t seem very likely. Mankins is becoming a ticket to another high 2011 draft pick (the Pats acquired the Raiders first-rounder for Richard Seymour last year), or even a trade possibility for a productive solution to the Patriots’ need for pass-rushers on defense.
As relations have gotten so bad with the former offensive asset, the Patriots should begin shopping him around as soon as possible, before buyers convince themselves not to pursue him and the situation works out even worse for the Patriots.