When New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday afternoon that "probably you'll see our good friend Logan Mankins will be signed up soon, hopefully to be a Patriot for life," he wasn't kidding.
The guard agreed to a six-year deal with the team later in the day, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
This is great news for both sides. Mankins is a stalwart, a player who makes everyone around him better just by taking the field. He is, without a doubt, a top five guard in the league today. Assuming the six year deal includes the 2011 season, Mankins will now be under the control of the Patriots until 2016, when he will be 34 years old.
Having Mankins back in the fold long-term also brings a lot more certainty to the Patriots offensive line situation. Mankins, left tackle Matt Light, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and rookies Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon are all signed until 2012 or beyond. The only key free agents the Patriots have along the offensive line heading into next year are center Dan Koppen and guard/center Dan Connolly.
The deal should also save the Patriots some cap money immediately (assuming the deal isn't front loaded). Undeer the conditions of the franchise tag, Mankins was scheduled to make a guaranteed base salary of $10.1 million this year.
And one more note: what a relief! It seemed that the Logan Mankins crisis had been going on for years. That's probably because it had. But now, fans, team management, and Mankins' side can all relax, the deal is done.