NFL free agency is now upon us thanks to the conclusion of the dreadful lockout.
The New England Patriots have fewer problems than most other teams coming out of the lockout, but they have needs as well as a whole lot of things to think about.
One problem that was recently resolved was the Logan Mankins situation.
Tom Brady can sleep easy tonight knowing that his stud left guard is scheduled to protect him every game this season.
Logan Mankins signed his franchise tag tender today that will grant him a $10.1 million salary to play this season.
It is a non-exclusive franchise tag. This means that Mankins is free to discuss deals with other teams if he so desires, But for him to be dealt to another organization would require an offer sheet. The Patriots would also end up gaining two first-round picks.
There is no chance of that happening in this situation with an offensive linemen. Mankins is a Patriot and will remain that for the season.
I know, he's getting paid $10.1 million to play left guard in the NFL, and it's a bit ridiculous.
Well, there are arguments, of course, for both sides. I personally do believe that he is worth the money.
Will Mankins Be A Patriot In 2012-2013?
First, allow me to explain to those who might not understand how an offensive linemen franchise tag works, and thus why he is going to make so much money.
Each team has one franchise tag every offseason that they can apply to an expiring contract. This will secure the player throughout free agency and the following season. This tag, when signed, is a contract for one year with the team.
Now here is the fun part where the player sees the "cha-ching."
The franchise tagged player receives the average salary of the top five paid players at that position in the NFL.
Simple enough. But what left guards get paid so much when averaging five contracts you get $10 million?
That is the catch for your offensive lineman when the tag is applied.
For Mankins, they don't average out the top five guard salaries. No, they average the top five salaries of all linemen in the NFL.
Thus, Mankins is now in line to make more this season than he did in his first six seasons with the Patriots.
It is not often you will see offensive linemen becoming the team's "franchise player." This year, Ryan Kalil, center for the Carolina Panthers, was also franchise tagged (non-exclusive). In the last five years, only four offensive linemen have been tagged.
Now on to why Mankins may not be happy with this.
When placed with the franchise tag, it is only a one-year deal.
Well, these guys have a financial future to worry about. A one-year deal is not exactly in their best interest. What if Mankins is injured and cannot play in 2012? No salary.
This is understandable, I suppose. Mankins has a family to take care of, and he would be much more comfortable knowing whether or not he will be receiving paychecks next year.
My only problem with this is that I feel $10.1 million should be plenty for someone to support a family for a very long time if they were to be injured. It's a different lifestyle, I know, but it isn't like he would have to choose between food and heat. I just get really annoyed when pro athletes complain about their pay.
Finally, this is why I think Mankins is worth this money for the Patriots.
Simply put: He is the best at his position. Plain and simple, there is no one better than him at guard in the NFL.
I want the best linemen that Kraft can afford protecting Tom Brady's blindside. As long as Tom Brady is mostly healthy (he has taken the Patriots to the playoffs with injuries in multiple seasons), and has the time he needs to make a play in the pocket, the Patriots will always be major contenders in the AFC as well as the whole NFL. Mankins also serves as a stellar run blocker in addition to a solid pocket protector.
This is why Logan Mankins is completely worth paying for and hanging on to.
I want Mankins here for as long as he is the best, so I hope the Patriots do sign him to a long term deal by the September deadline. I would feel as comfortable as Mankins would if he knew his future status with the team via a contract.