Over the past few days, rumors have circulated that Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson were seeking monetary compensation in the form of a payoff for their grievances in the anti-trust case.
Logan Mankins' agent Frank Bauer vehemently denied those reports on behalf of his client.
"I think it’s really unfair what has happened to Logan Mankins in media characterizations that he is making monetary demands or holding up a settlement. Logan Mankins is a young man who was encouraged and solicited into a lawsuit to help the union spearhead a new agreement. Logan’s main concern for entering into as a plaintiff was to see if he can become free and help other players have less restrictions. For people to say he has made monetary demands, he hasn’t made any such demand. We don’t know terms. We haven’t talked to Jeff Kessler. There has been no communication, but it’s irresponsible to report Logan has made monetary demands."
Agents spin bad press into better press all the time, but in this case, no spin was necessary. Pro Player Insiders reported this evening that Logan Mankins was in touch with the NFLPA, and had put to rest any idea that he might hold up a labor deal in an attempt to seek further compensation.
The NFLPA leadership has been in touch with Logan Mankins. He and the NFLPA are disappointed by unnamed and unsourced reports in the media that he asked for any financial compensation to be a named plaintiff in the Brady case. Any contention that he would put himself ahead of the other players in this league are baseless. He reaffirmed his support for a fair settlement that is good for ALL players and members of the class.
The final sentence is what really strikes me here. In that sentence, the statement essentially says that Mankins followed the Patriots way, by putting himself second and doing what's best for his team (the NFLPA).
Surely, Mankins won't be pleased that the Patriots can still tag him as many times as they want. That's a big bargaining chip on New England's side of the table. That's obviously not something the Patriots would want to do, as Robert Kraft expressed on WEEI last season that he would like to keep Mankins around for a "long-term."
Despite the bad blood that has sometimes boiled from the Mankins camp and the negative press that has followed, perhaps this latest move will be just the right thing to show Robert Kraft that Logan is deserving of a long-term deal, and that getting one done should be a top priority when the lockout is over.
What if they can't, though? After all, the animosity was palpable all last offseason and even halfway into the regular season. As always, it's about what's in the best interest of the team; maybe investing top dollar in a left guard isn't the best way to spend money.
They could do without him from a statistical standpoint. In fact, they proved it last year. According to Cold Hard Football Facts' Offensive Hog Index, the Patriots offensive line play varied only slightly with him as opposed to without him.
Mankins' contributions will never be fully represented on a stat sheet. The attribute that Mankins brings more than any other offensive linemen in a Patriots uniform is his attitude and temperament in the game. Even John Hannah will attest that his aggressive style of play is valuable to the team.
There's no way to simply replace a player like Mankins, but losing him becomes even more troublesome if the Patriots also lose Matt Light. That would be the entire blind side of the offensive line gone in one offseason. Add onto that the retirement of Steve Neal, and the Patriots can hardly afford to be looking for three new starters on the offensive line in one offseason.
Surely the two sides will try to work something out when the CBA is finished and agreed upon. Whether they are successful remains to be seen, but could be pertinent to the Patriots success in 2011 and beyond.