NFL Free Agency: Chicago Bears Should Target Logan Mankins If He's Available

Bob WarjaSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Logan Mankins #70 of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the New York Giants on September 3, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins' agent reportedly wants his client to be granted unrestricted free-agent status or receive $10 million once the lockout is lifted, according to Yahoo! Sports

If the former Pro-Bowler is granted his freedom, the Bears had better be first in line for his services.

This latest news stems from the settlement of the Brady vs. NFL antitrust lawsuit.

Along with San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson (another possible Bears target?), Mankins is among 10 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The issue is the franchise tags the players received from their teams before the NFL locked out its players in March.

Last year, Mankins missed the first seven games of the season after refusing to report. But that didn't stop the 29-year-old from being named to the Pro Bowl for the third time in 2010. 

The Bears, meanwhile, need more help on the offensive line.

Just because they drafted Gabe Carimi in the first round doesn't mean all their troubles are gone. Remember, the Bears led the league in sacks allowed last season.

While Mankins may simply be using this as leverage in re-signing with the Patriots, there is precedence to grant him free agency. In 1993, something similar happened as part of the Reggie White lawsuit.

If Mankins is declared a free agent, he won't come cheaply. But under the expected terms of the proposed new CBA, the Bears should have about $30 million to spend.

No matter what, there is a lot to do in a short period of time for Bears GM Jerry Angelo.

Here's hoping he makes Mankins a priority.