With all the talk of re-signing Vince Wilfork this offseason and of extending Tom Brady, who is in the last year of his contact, has lead many to overlook one key player: Guard Logan Mankins. Mankins would have been an unrestricted free agent this offseason if not for the expiration of the CBA. Because he has only played five seasons, he became an restricted free agent and the Pats tendered at the first- and third- round pick level ($3.3 million). Essentially, barring a trade, he will be a Patriots for at least one more year. Logan Mankins is arguably the best player on the offensive line. He has been to two Pro Bowls and has been a starter since his rookie season.
Mankins would have likely commanded a big contract on the open market, but instead must sign his tender, negotiate a new deal with the Pats, or not sign his tender, in which case the Pats can offer him a contract 110% lower than the initial offer. Thus far, Mankins has stayed away from voluntary workouts due to his displeasure with the progress of his new deal. June 15 is a key date for the Mankins-Patriots saga. If he does not have a new deal in place, or has not signed his tender, the Pats can kick in the “110% reduction” clause. What is also significant about June 15 is that is the date of the first and only mandatory mini-camp. It will be interesting to see, if there has not been any resolution with the contract situation, if Mankins attends the mini-camp and/or signs his tender.
Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft would like Mankins to remain a Patriot, and indicated that the sides have been in discussion.
“Our people are working on that (Mankins’ contract),” Kraft said. “I really hope Logan will be with us for the long-term. That’s our objective.”
What exactly would that contract be worth? Albert Breer from the Boston Globe takes a shot by looking at recent big deals signed by guards around the NFL, and settles on the $7-8 million per year and about $20 million guaranteed range. Tim Graham from ESPNBoston.com talks to former Green Bay VP Alan Brandt about Mankins’ contract situation and how contracts are hammered out. According to Brandt, Mankins doesn’t have a lot of leverage at the moment.
“His only leverage is pointing to what other teams have done in terms of the (Jabari) Evans deal,” Brandt said. “However, the team response — and I’ve been there — is, ‘We don’t do deals based on what other people do.’
“His leverage is that he’s a good player they want to keep happy.”
Based on the struggles of the offensive line at times and the team wanting to be more physical in the trenches, keeping their best offensive lineman is in the team’s best interests. Mankins is a tough player who is athletic enough to pull and run in screens and physical enough to maul in the trenches. Keeping Brady is a top priority, but keeping Brady upright and healthy with Mankins blocking for him is just a notch below.