Although the Patriots didn't apply the franchise tag to Pro Bowl OLG Logan Mankins on the first day they were allowed to do so, PFW Patriots correspondent Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald says the team could do so any day now.
Rapoport reports that New England will tag Mankins at some point in the 14-day window that teams have to use the franchise tag. Mankins, who has started every game in which he has played since being selected by the team in the first round of the 2005 draft, is on the record as saying he does not want to be tagged.
Mankins' desire to get a long-term deal and the contentious negotiations that followed led to his sitting out the first seven games of the 2010 season in a contract dispute.
He is open to staying with the team, where he is well-liked and has several good friends. The franchise tag would pay him about $10.51 million for one year.
The way we see it
Signing the three-time Pro Bowler might be the Patriots' top priority this offseason. Not only is he a top protector of QB Tom Brady, but the team runs much better with him in the lineup, showing a 19-yard improvement in rushing yards per game in the 10 games in which he played in ’10 compared to the seven games he sat out.
He is the top O-lineman on the team and a key piece to making sure that Brady and the offense continue to be one of the most explosive attacks in the league.