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New England Patriots Links 3/16/11 - Don't Disrupt Draft Day!

<em>'Modern day slavery,' Adrian Peterson?  Really?</em>
'Modern day slavery,' Adrian Peterson? Really?

Jeff Howe offers 20 of his thoughts on Logan Mankins, Matt Light, the slim chance free agency will happen before the draft and more.

11. It still might be too early to tell how long the injunction case will last -- a month tops, but that is probably a worst-case scenario -- and if the players win the case, there is a very slim possibility that free agency can begin before the draft, which starts April 28.

12. It's more likely the draft will be complete before free agency, and the area that handcuffs the Patriots mostly is on the offensive line, which could have some moving parts, depending on Matt Light and Logan Mankins. I personally think the Patriots' best strategy is to move forward as though they'll never have Mankins in a uniform again. Even with the franchise tag in place, they're never going to sign him to a long-term deal.

13. Let's say the Patriots want to keep Mankins in contract limbo out of spite. Unless something changes with the franchise tag in the new CBA, Mankins is set to earn about $10 million in 2011, and with the guarantee of at least a 20 percent raise in 2012, they'll pay him at least $12 million then.

14. Mankins will face a prorated pay decrease if he keeps holding out like he did in 2010, but the Patriots would be looking at $22 million in guaranteed money if they chose to franchise him twice in a row. If they really had those intentions, it would be much more financially responsible to put that toward guaranteed money in a four- or five-year deal.

15. If the Patriots retain Light, it will have to be for a two- or three-year contract -- it would be a huge hometown discount if he accepted a one-year deal to remain in New England, so I don't believe that is likely -- and I have to believe they'll know during the draft whether or not they'll have Light on the roster in 2011 and beyond. Therefore, they'll be tipping their hand on that move if they draft a tackle with one of their first three picks.

Rich Cimini (ESPNNY) offers this great quote from the mouth of Jets' special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, referring to last season's playoff win against the Patriots:

"I'd rather beat them than maybe go to heaven."