I really want Patriots starting left guard Logan Mankins to return to the team. I really do. He's not only one of the best guards in the game, he's one of the best linemen. He has a level of "nasty" that no other lineman on the roster possesses and he elevates the energy of the other guys on the line. I really think that he is the #1 priority of the Patriots' this off-season.
However, I'm not going to hold my breath. While Mankins has said that he's open to a return to the Patriots, he made an additional dig at Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Earlier in the season, Mankins offered an apology to Kraft in private, but it is believed that Kraft asked Mankins to make it a public apology- at which time Mankins balked and sat out a few extra weeks. I still believe the only chance Mankins has to return is if he offers another apology; whether or not that's fair to ask, it's not up to me. I think he's paid his dues and any public apology would seem forced. Still, I think he'll have to say he's sorry for insulting the franchise.
When asked on if he'd apologize, he sarcastically stated the following:
"Well, everyone knows I apologized to Mr. Kraft. He told everyone."
Whoops. I don't think an apology is coming and while I believe that Mankins really is open to coming back to the Patriots, I believe that he'll go to whichever winning team offers him the most money. The Patriots could franchise tag him, if the new CBA allows the tag, in order to maximize value for Mankins, especially because there are no real free agents of need that the Patriots need to re-sign. If anything, I'd expect Mankins to be traded for a couple top round picks (1st and 3rd, or 2nd and 3rd) to a team that just needs an offensive line upgrade (Chicago?).