All Pro and Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins has decided to sign the tender offer and will report to the Patriots on Tuesday. The Patriots have been inconsistent with their line play all season, as each lineman has had their fair share of issues. Matt Light had trouble against everyone, Dan Connolly hasn't been a strong pull blocker, Dan Koppen can't stop a 3-4 nose tackle, Stephen Neal has a big butt and Sebastian Vollmer struggled against 3-4 OLBs with a running start.
The potential return of Mankins means that the offensive line has another body to support its depleted depth. Ryan Wendell is the first lineman off the sideline, which isn't a very promising sign in case of an injury. Mankins gives the team depth and looks to be in playoff shape as the season winds down- which is exactly when the Patriots need depth the most.
In order for Mankins to make the roster, it seems as if some player, somewhere, will have to be trimmed from the roster. Here's my list of potentials:
G/C Rich Ohrnberger
G/C Quinn Ojinnaka
Mankins, while in the hot seat with fans, is loved by his teammates and still has his locker. His early return could be a sign of good faith that he's going to be a contributor this year and that maybe the Patriots won't hold him hostage again after this season ends.
Just for fun, let's pretend that we're fans of the "New England Sunshines."
What is the best case scenario from this turn of event?
Mankins resigns with the team and starts practicing tomorrow.
Mankins is ready to go by the Pittsburgh Steelers game and is moved to starting Left Guard for the rest of the season.
Dan Connolly is moved to Center and plays that position for the rest of the season and is more adept at defending against Nose Tackles than Dan Koppen.
The offensive line and the offense has 8 games to gel and become a well oiled machine.
This offense helps propel the Patriots to a 15-1 regular season finish and a Super Bowl victory.
Logan Mankins understands how important the Patriots are to his success and makes a public apology to the Patriots organization and his teammates for holding out and for making derogatory remarks.
Robert Kraft accepts his apology and rewards Mankins with a 5 year, $39m contract, worth $7.8m a year
With an offensive line featuring Mankins, Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer, the Patriots only need to draft a guard and a tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Patriots utilize their numerous draft picks to grab the best tackle in the draft and the best guard in the draft.
The Patriots, without having to expend a pick on a second guard (one to replace Stephen Neal, one to replace the potentially vacant LG spot by Mankins), are able to utilize their other early draft picks on a defensive or offensive stud, that would normally have been a luxury draft pick.
With an offensive line ready for the next 5 seasons, the Patriots go on to win the next 5 Super Bowls.
And that's just because Logan Mankins decided to re-sign with the Patriots 3 weeks earlier than necessary.