Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reported on March 4 that Mankins told the Buccaneers he would inform them of his retirement decision before Monday's start of free agency. However, Auman noted Mankins hadn't decided as of March 2.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that as of Feb. 24, the Bucs didn't know which way Mankins was leaning. Howe also passed along comments from Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht about how the situation could have impacted the team's offseason plans.
"We'll be talking to Logan in the next few weeks," Licht said. "His decision isn't going to have any sort of hindrance on what we're planning on doing for the future. You've got to build. You've got to look three years ahead, so his decision isn't going to hurt us in any way right now with what we're planning on doing."
Mankins was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2005. He spent the first nine years of his career with the organization before getting traded to Tampa Bay ahead of the 2014 season for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round pick. He's started 31 of a possible 32 games for the Bucs over the past two years.
The 33-year-old guard spoke with JoeBucsFan.com in January about his outlook. The veteran stated he wanted to give the Buccaneers' front office as much notice as possible about his decision but didn't want to potentially make the wrong one by deciding too quickly.
"I'm trying to just take my time and make the right decision. Things like that, usually, you don't want to rush into," Mankins said.
Apparently, Tampa Bay was going to give him as much time as he needed. He was scheduled to count $7 million against the cap in the final year of his current deal if he opted to return.
Former Bucs coach Lovie Smith provided his thoughts on Mankins after the season ended, per Scott Smith of the team's official site: "You don't retire on a [great] year like that."
Although Licht didn't sound overly concerned about the situation, it's now a void he will need to fill. Antoine Everett and Kevin Pamphile are the top in-house replacement options, but adding more depth through the draft or free agency is necessary.
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