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Tender moment: Mankins expected today

Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins is expected to report to the team today and sign his tender offer, ESPN reported last night.

Mankins, a Pro Bowl guard, refused to sign his $3.26 million tender earlier this year and did not participate in offseason workouts or training camp while negotiating a new contract.

Mankins had been expected to report and sign his tender by the week of Nov. 16, as he was advised by the NFL Players Association, so he could accrue another year toward free agency and become an unrestricted free agent in 2011. Without the added year, Mankins would remain a restricted free agent next season.

Calls to Mankins’s agent, Frank Bauer, were not returned last night.

There hasn’t been much talk from Mankins’s camp about the situation aside from sporadic statements by Bauer. Mankins has not talked publicly about the contract since comments to ESPNBoston.com in the summer expressing his disappointment at not receiving a deal from the Patriots.

In September it was reported that the Patriots were close to a deal with Mankins but that he refused to make a public apology for his comments about the organization. How ever, Patriots owner Robert Kraft immediately denied those reports, saying that he did have a conversation with Mankins in which the player apologized for his comments, but that a deal was never on the table.

Mankins, 28, is entering his sixth NFL season. The Patriots drafted him in the first round in 2005 out of Fresno State. Mankins played every game for the Patriots in the past five years, starting all 80 games since his rookie season. That streak came to an end this year, and without Mankins, the Patriots have inserted Dan Connolly at guard.

Mankins would provide depth for the Patriots at a pivotal point in the season. The team already has had its bye week and has the NFL’s best record at 6-1. 

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