Mankins played out the entirety of his five-year rookie contract and only made $1.5 million last season due to the fact that New England placed a tender on Mankins' restricted free agent status, due to the uncapped year.
Mankins is arguably the best offensive guard in all of football, but he certainly isn't getting paid like it.
The majority of the other 31 franchises in the NFL usually extend rookie contracts once they realize that they want that player long-term—Bill Belichick and the Patriots don't seem to operate that way, which certainly puts them in the minority.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller was the 30th overall pick in the 2005 draft, just two picks prior to Mankins, and received a contract extension back in 2009 which will pay him an average annual salary of roughly $3.83 million from now until 2012.
The Steelers were able to extend a player who is arguably less valuable than Mankins, while New England appears to demand rookies to play out the entirety of their contracts.
Another interesting situation was the one involving Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mike Patterson, who was selected just one pick prior to Mankins and received a contract extension back in 2006. His extension is worth about $32 million and is good through 2016.
Doesn't it come off that Mankins is certainly getting the short end of the stick? It appears so, and it's definitely understandable why Mankins is behaving the way he is.
The hot news regarding Mankins' fellow player, Vincent Jackson, is that he is demanding at least $10 million or complete free agent status, and some think Mankins will do the same, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Mankins is an integral part of New England's offense, and it's time for Belichick and the Patriots front office to actually pay one of their valued players.
It was a struggle for New England to finally pay Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady, but both cases were ultimately settled with respectable contracts for both players.
I would consider Mankins to be in the same category as Wilfork and Brady, as all three players are faces of the New England franchise and are at top of their position league-wide.
Over Mankins' six-year career, he's only allowed an average of only 2.5 sacks per year, which is definitely impressive and should be a valued number.
The time has come for the Patriots to actually open up their bank, the same way they operated with Wilfork and Brady. Mankins is a key part to New England's offensive line, and he's well-deserving of being paid like the top offensive guard in the NFL.