Contract issues keeping Mankins away


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Earlier today, Patriots owner Robert Kraft hinted that it won’t be long before quarterback Tom Brady is back in Foxborough working out with his teammates.

The same expectation isn’t being made on another New England Pro Bowler.

Patriots guard Logan Mankins — tendered at the first- and third-round level in February — is staying at his ranch in California as the team works through its offseason program, and plans to remain there until there is some significant movement on his contract situation. Mankins is one of the 212 fourth- and fifth-year players that would’ve been unrestricted in the old system, but are restricted in the uncapped environment.

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Mankins was offered the one-year, $3.268 million deal that’s accorded to the high tender in the RFA system. Since Mankins hasn’t signed the tender, and isn’t under contract, he’s under no obligation to show up for any of the team’s offseason activities, voluntary or mandatory.

Mankins is free to negotiate with other teams until seven days before the draft, after which exclusive negotiating rights would revert to the Patriots. If Mankins doesn’t sign by June 15, the team can reduce his tender to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, which computes to $1.54 million.

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