Restricted free-agent guard Logan Mankins had until June 14 to sign his $3.268 tender offer or risk having it cut to $1.54 million.
Not only did the two-time Pro Bowler not sign it, but he dropped a verbal bomb that day by deciding that he was ready to close the door on his career in New England.
"At this point, I'm pretty frustrated, from everything that's happened and the way negotiations have gone," Mankins told ESPNBoston.com. "I want to be traded. I don't need to be here anymore."
Mankins went on to explain the discussions he's had with the team in recent years, including interaction with Patriots Owner Robert Kraft.
"After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that Mr. Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the (uncertain collective bargaining agreement)," Mankins told ESPNBoston.com. "I was asked to play '09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I'm a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
"That's the big thing. Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
After voicing his trade request, Mankins stayed away from New England's three-day mandatory veteran minicamp that started June 15. The team also exercised its right and reduced its tender offer to the former first-round pick that's never missed a game in his five previous NFL seasons.
As is his usual course of action in such cases, coach Bill Belichick said he was "focused on the players who were here" and didn't get into specifics regarding Mankins during his minicamp press conference.
"The situation between anybody and the club in contract situations is between them and the club," he said. When asked later if he'd spoken with his guard, he reiterated that any and all matters in contract situations are between the player and the club.
According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations the Patriots have in fact made an offer to Mankins. Not all of the details of the deal are clear but the source said it was five years and worth roughly $7 million per season. The source also added that the contract would put Mankins among the top five highest paid guards in the NFL. Also, the deal has been on the table for quite some time yet has not been countered by Mankins' camp.
Mankins' agent, Frank Bauer, mentioned in the ESPNBoston.com piece that the package fell "20 percent below" what Saints Pro-Bowl guard Jahri Evans received. Evans was also a restricted free agent and New Orleans gave him a seven-year, $56.7 million deal with about $19 million up front earlier in the offseason.
There are two sides in every story and every contract negotiation. The bottom line is that the generally soft-spoken and well-respected Mankins seems to have mentally moved on from his days in New England. Now it will be interesting to see if Belichick & Co. acquiesce to his trade request and what the team might be able to get in return for a young, durable Pro-Bowl guard looking for a big money contract.
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