Updated Feb. 14, 2011 @ 8:10 p.m. ET
The Patriots did what Logan Mankins expected, and what he was not hoping for: They placed the franchise tag on the Pro Bowl guard.
"Logan Mankins is a tremendous player. He has been a fixture on our offensive line since we drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft and he remains an important part of our future plans," the Patriots said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach a long-term agreement, despite many attempts and proposals by both sides. That remains our objective in utilizing the franchise designation and we are hopeful that Logan will be a Patriot for many years to come."
In their release, the Patriots referred to last year's franchise tag on Vince Wilfork. The designation was removed when the two sides agreed on a long-term contract extension.
Mankins has started 89 games in six seasons in New England, making the Pro Bowl three times, including this past season, when he played in just nine games.
"I wouldn't be happy about (being franchised), if that's what they chose to do, to be dealt that kind of hand," Mankins told the Boston Herald in Hawaii leading up to the Pro Bowl. PFW correspondent and Herald writer Ian Rapoport reported last week that the Patriots would tag Mankins at some point during the 14-day window.
The left guard sat out the first seven games of the 2010 season because of a contract dispute. He was hoping for a long-term deal but eventually signed his tender and showed up on Nov. 1.
The NFL Players Association is expected to challenge teams' use of the franchise tag considering there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement in place for the 2011 season, but because the current one doesn't expire until March 3, franchise tags can be applied, the league believes.
The franchise tag is projected to pay Mankins $10.1 million for one year.
The way we see it
This comes as no surprise, but that doesn't mean Mankins will be any happier about it. He wants a lucrative, long-term deal that rewards him at a level similar to some of the league's top guards. While Bill Belichick has shown no problem in the past parting ways with unhappy vets, Mankins is an interesting case, because he is very well-liked in the locker room. The Patriots gained nearly 19 yards per game more on the ground with Mankins in the lineup than without him. With $10.1 million set to come his way, this is Mankins' best deal for one season and gives the two sides more time to come up with a long-term deal.