If you're feeling anything like I am about the Logan Mankins contract situation, you're probably quite perplexed.
After all, just 24 hours ago, we were learning that Mankins was in the area, and had been training near Foxboro. This looked like a positive sign for his attendance in mini-camp, which begins today.
However, just hours after receiving the "positive" news, Mankins, in a phone conversation, revealed his true feelings to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com.
"At this point, I'm pretty frustrated, from everything that's happened and the way negotiations have gone. I want to be traded. I don't need to be here any more.
Say what? Traded? Since when exactly did things go from bad to worse? When I heard this news, I was absolutely shocked. Mankins' followed up that gem with a few more via Reiss.
In regards to his restricted free agent tender:
"There is no way that I'm signing that thing."
He then explained why he was so upset at the Patriots' organization:
"After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that Mr. Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the [uncertain collective bargaining agreement]. I was asked to play '09 out, and that they would address the contract after the uncapped year. I'm a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
"That's the big thing. Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
From the sound of things, Mankins felt that he was promised that he would be getting a big time contract offer once the season ended. Whether or not he really did is one question. However, according to the same Mike Reiss report, Mankins' contract offer from the Patriots was more than 20% below what Saints' guard Jahri Evans received.
However, Albert Breer of the Boston Globe reported last night that Mankins received a contract offer worth approximately $7 million per season over five years. While the deal doesn't quite match the $8.1 million average Evans received, the deal would make Mankins one of the top five paid guards in all of football, according to the Breer report:
The sides have been at an impasse for some time. The Patriots' last offer, which has has been on the table for "a significant period of time", was a five-year deal worth approximately $7 million per season and would place the two-time Pro Bowler comfortably among the top five paid guards in the NFL, according to a league source.
It's hard to tell who is "right" in this situation, but I'll do my best to break down the situation.
We know this: Logan Mankins feels like he is one of the top guards in all of football, and he deserves to be paid like it. While he may feel cheated by the Patriots organization because he felt he should have been a free agent already, it is not the organization's fault. It is the fault of the NFLPA who negotiated for the uncapped year. Logan Mankins deserved to be paid as a top unrestricted free agent, but unfortunately for him, the rules changed. He is a restricted free agent and must abide by the rules. Nonetheless, Mankins feels the Patriots promised to reward him with a top dollar deal, and he has yet to be awarded with an appropriate contract in his eyes. The Patriots probably think otherwise. With Logan Mankins requesting a trade and holding out of mandatory mini-camp (technically he is not under contract so it isn't "mandatory" for him), the Patriots have also officially reduced his tender offer from $3.268 million to $1.54 million.
From the look of things, it seems that the two sides are clearly at an impasse, and the situation does not look bright, to say the least. The question becomes, can the Patriots and Mankins work out a deal that works for both sides? Can things be amended, or has the situation gone too far?
My opinion is that things can still be reversed, as ugly as they may be right now. I think the Patriots still want Mankins, and I think Mankins would truly prefer not to switch teams. However, if things continue to fall apart, I could see the Patriots moving on with Nick Kaczur at left guard, and getting whatever they can for Logan Mankins (1st or 2nd round pick).