Well, it might be safe to say this isn't what any of us expected.
According to last week's Debate Friday poll, most fans (roughly 75 percent) thought Logan Mankins would attend mandatory mini-camp this past week. And even the 25 percent who felt otherwise probably never imagined that Mankins would respond with so angry a stance toward the Patriots organization.
As a refresher, here were some of his comments:
*"At this point, I'm pretty frustrated, from everything that's happened and the way negotiations have gone," Mankins said in a phone interview with ESPNBoston.com late Monday. *
"I want to be traded. I don't need to be here any more … There is no way that I'm signing that [$3.26 million tender offer]. After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the [uncertain collective bargaining agreement]. I was asked to play '09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I'm a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.
"That's the big thing," Mankins continued. "Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond. Obviously this isn't the case with the Patriots."
Pretty inflammatory stuff. Which brings us to this week's PFW Debate Friday question:
Can Logan Mankins rejoin the Patriots after his public criticism of the team?
Read the arguments by the writers of Patriots Football Weekly, then cast your vote in this week's poll.
Paul Perillo says, "Yes …"
Logan Mankins had some pretty strong words and pointed them in a direction that made them personal toward the organization he's hoping will pay him a lot of money. That doesn't seem to be a wise course of action – unless he really doesn't want to play for the Patriots anymore.
Assuming he does, there's no reason to think he can't patch things up. Mankins will need to do some serious groveling for that to happen – starting with a sincere apology to Robert Kraft. He basically called the owner's ethics into question when he claimed the team went back on its word with regard to dealing with his contract extension. Short of a significant retraction – at least privately between the parties – Mankins won't be back. But if Mankins wants to return he would surely realize this and take the necessary steps.
If that happens, Mankins also needs to make amends with his coaches and teammates. He let them down as well and owes them an apology. That shouldn't be as big a deal as we've seen many disgruntled players return from far worse situations over the years. Remember when Ty Law called Bill Belichick a liar? That didn't prevent the corner from returning to the fold, and this incident shouldn't prevent Mankins from being accepted if he apologizes.
Basically the ball's in Mankins' court. If he still wants to be part of the Patriots organization there are things he can do to make that happen. If he doesn't, then he'll likely have to get his contract extension elsewhere. But I see no reason that the All-Pro guard can't figure out a way to continue his career in New England.
Erik Scalavino says, "No …"
It seems to me that the Patriots have kept their word to Mankins.
If, as Mankins said, the team promised to address his contract "during the uncapped year," well, that's what they're doing! The uncapped year began back in March and will end next March. There's a lot of time between now and then to continue negotiating. But it all starts with Mankins signing his tender. I'm not privy to the talks, but to me, that would signal the start of the good-faith process: sign the tender and we'll go from there.
As we saw earlier this offseason in Vince Wilfork's case, the team designated him their franchise player, which made him unhappy initially, but both sides continued to negotiate and soon thereafter came to a mutually beneficial agreement. That's how the process usually works. There's give and take until common ground can be reached.
Mankins must feel that what worked for Wilfork won't work for him, and I don't understand why. Wilfork expressed his displeasure, but he always added that he wanted to stay in New England, if at all possible. And sure enough, a deal was consummated. Mankins' comments this week don't give him any wiggle room in which to operate.
From my limited dealings with him, Mankins appears to be a man of his word. If he says he doesn't want to be in New England anymore, I believe him. I don't think he would have said it if he didn't mean it.
But in so doing, Mankins burned his bridges, and the damage, in my mind, is irreparable.
What's your take? Tell us how you feel about the Mankins situation by voting in this week's PFW Debate Friday poll.