In a story that has been completely overlooked due to the drama of Randy Moss over the fast few weeks, Patriots guard Logan Mankins will sign his restricted free agent tender and will report to the Patriots tomorrow, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on ESPN during Monday Night Football's haltime show.
The two major questions with Mankins become:
- Should the Patriots welcome Mankins back with open arms?
- What type of role will Mankins have once he comes back?
To answer the first question: Absolutely. The fact that Mankins is signing the tender three weeks early tells me that he actually wants to come in a play football. This has to be good news from the Patriots' standpoint. Assuming that Patriots management is on board with Mankins coming back (and I'm not sure what say they have in it, considering that they didn't rescind the tender), having Mankins can only be a positive thing for the Patriots.
The question then becomes, what role will Mankins be playing? The thing is, in Mankins' absence, guard Dan Connolly has looked pretty solid. There's no question that Mankins is more talented than Connolly, but the offensive line has really developed a rhythm and chemistry that could be disrupted should Mankins return to the starting line-up. In addition, starting Mankins might not sit favorably with part of the locker room.
Personally, I'm really undecided on the issue as of now. I'd like to see how Mankins fits in the first couple of weeks, how he adapts to a potentially reduced role, then I will form my opinion on the matter.