The Boston Herald is reporting that the Patriots are expected to slap the franchise tag on guard Logan Mankins when teams can start using that tag on Thursday. There is uncertainty as to whether the franchise tag is even something teams can use. The current CBA expires March 4, and the sides are split on the franchise tag. The NFL front offices and the owners believe they can still use the franchise tag while the players’ union feels that if there is no CBA, there is no more franchise tag. There is a possibility that a new CBA could do away with the franchise tag, though I’m not sure the owners would willingly give up that poker chip. Regardless, teams plan to, and will, start using the franchise tag Thursday. While the Patriots will reportedly use the tag on Mankins, the questions is, should they?
Teams have 14 days to figure out whether they will use the franchise tag on a player or not. If I’m the Patriots, and I truly want Logan Mankins here long term, I wait as long as possible before I use that tag. They have 14 days to try and work on a new deal, or at least get parameters in place so that talks can move in a positive direction, like with Vince Wilfork last offseason. If they move quickly to tag Mankins, who already came out and said that he would not be happy if he were tagged, there is virtually no chance that he will want to remain with the team. An early tag, in my opinion, clearly states that the team has no intentions on signing Mankins, will not let him out on the open market, and is looking to trade him. We will find out shortly what the team’s intentions are in regards to Mankins. I hope that he receives a new contract or the team waits as long as possible before tagging him, which at least indicates that they’re trying to get him signed.