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Patriots notebook

Mankins assures on-time arrival

Guard to sign franchise tender

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / July 27, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - One of the major questions for the Patriots - will Logan Mankins join them for the start of training camp? - received a surprising answer yesterday.

Yes.

Mankins will sign his franchise tender and report to camp today with the rest of his teammates, ESPN reported. The tender will pay him a guaranteed $10.116 million for the 2011 season.

The move is a welcome one for New England, which could well have a rookie starting at left tackle this season, and will assure that first-round pick Nate Solder will have a veteran next to him.

But it is a bit surprising because at two charity events this spring, for the foundations of Matt Light and Joe Andruzzi, Mankins still seemed bothered by the idea that having franchise tag on him meant he’d be unable to hit the open market yet again.

“I’ve heard there’s this thing in football called free agency . . . but I haven’t seen it. Maybe one of these days I could actually experience that,’’ he said at Light’s event just before the draft.

At the NFL Combine, Mankins’s agent Frank Bauer called the Patriots’ treatment of his client a “travesty.’’

Mankins reportedly spoke with coach Bill Belichick yesterday and was looking forward to joining the team.

Last year, as one of 200-plus fourth- and fifth-year players who lost out on the opportunity to become unrestricted free agents because of the rules of the uncapped season, Mankins was given a restricted free agent tender by New England. That tender was slashed nearly in half when he refused to sign it by a June deadline. Around that time, Mankins said he would not sign the offer and that the team had lied to him about doing a new contract.

He delayed his arrival until the first week of November and was immediately re-inserted into the starting lineup. Despite playing in just nine games, Mankins was named to the All-Pro team and to his third Pro Bowl.

Teams have until Sept. 20 to reach a long-term deal with franchised players; it behooves the Patriots to finally come to an agreement with Mankins sooner than later, as doing so would lower his salary cap hit for this season, allowing the team to possibly spend the savings elsewhere.

Carter released Belichick called defensive back Tony Carter on Monday night to tell him he would be released.

Carter, a 25-year old Florida State product, spent much of last season on the practice squad but was promoted to the 53-man roster before the Week 15 game against Green Bay. He played in the regular-season finale against Miami and recorded a tackle.

Agent Chris Napoli said Carter is “appreciative to have been part of the organization and thinks the world of the staff and coaches and he’s looking forward to the next step.’’

Signing on The first frenzy of the new NFL year was for undrafted rookies. Teams could begin negotiating with them Monday night, and by 11 p.m., Twitter was flooded with reports of players going to various teams.

By yesterday, a half-dozen agreements had been Twitter-confirmed, with five players sharing the news themselves that they were New England-bound: Cal WR/PR Jeremy Ross (6 feet, 209 pounds), Auburn OG Mike Berry (6-3, 319), Maryland TE/OT Will Yeatman (6-6, 270), West Virginia ILB Anthony Leonard (6-0, 254), and Illinois DE/OLB Clay Nurse (6-2, 261). The Iowa athletic department tweeted that ILB Jeff Tarpinian (6-2, 235) had agreed with the Patriots.

There were reports through various news outlets of four other players heading to the Patriots: Akron T Corey Woods (6-5, 315), Rutgers DE Alex Silvestro (6-3, 267), Texas T Kyle Hix (6-7, 319), and Nevada DE Ryan Coulson (6-3, 243).

The team has yet to make an official announcement.

Schedule set The Patriots announced the schedule for the first two days of camp. Tomorrow and Friday the team will practice at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with each session scheduled to run for two hours. Under the agreement reached between the league and the players, there will be no pads for the first two days.

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