Mankins weighing options
INDIANAPOLIS — The agent for guard Logan Mankins said last night a decision has not been made on whether Mankins will sign his franchise tender with the Patriots and called the team’s treatment of the three-time Pro Bowler a “travesty.’’
Frank Bauer, in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine as well as today’s mandatory meeting of all certified agents, said he and Mankins are “still weighing our options.”
By franchising Mankins, who was named an All-Pro this past season season despite missing the first seven games in a contract dispute, the Patriots will pay him a one-year guaranteed contract of about $10.1 million (the estimated franchise number for offensive linemen next season.)
At the Super Bowl, Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed a desire for Mankins to remain with the Patriots long-term. Bauer said he has spoken with Kraft within the past few months, but that a deal “still cannot be worked out. We disagree.’’
Bauer lamented the treatment of his client, the Patriots’ first-round draft pick in 2005.
“One of the best players on your football team, that the coaching staff respects — it’s a travesty what they’ve done with this player,’’ said Bauer. “[A new deal] should have been done a long time ago. It could have been done a long time ago. But it got stopped.
“And right now we’re not talking. And they tagged him.’’
Bauer detailed his version of how things got to this point:
“After the 2008 season was over, I approached Bill [Belichick] about a long-term deal, which most — that small group of Pro Bowlers — always get [their contracts] rewritten. We were told that because of the uncertainty of the CBA that [the Patriots] weren’t doing anything with any players, and they started rewriting players in camp, and they were the lesser players, and [Tom] Brady and Logan were the big contracts and they would take some time to get through.
“Logan was a little upset that other players were getting rewritten when everybody was told they weren’t going to get rewritten. And then, all of a sudden, Bill sat with Logan and talked to him about it and we decided, ‘OK, we’ll go through the 2009 season, play it out at [$1.4 million, the salary in the final year of Mankins’s rookie contract].’’
Bauer said they were told in the uncapped year there would be no rules. “Negotiations started and they started low. And it’s been pretty bad ever since,’’ he said.
Belichick has consistently spoken highly of Mankins and his ability, even last season, when the guard, frustrated with the negotations, stayed away until October.
At one point, the sides were close to a deal. The Globe, citing a league source, reported that the contract was for five years and worth around $35 million. But there were no details on how much was guaranteed or whether the deal was back-loaded, which would lower the chances of Mankins seeing that money.
As for Mankins’ mind-set, Bauer said, “Logan Mankins is fine. His mind-set’s fine. He’s a strong player, knows what he wants. All he wants is what the rest of the guys get in this league. He’s a big-time player.’’