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Patriot forever? Mankins ends contract drama with six-year deal

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi confirmed Wednesday that the Patriots have signed Mankins to a six-year contract.

All of the contract contentiousness between the New England Patriots and All-Pro guard Logan Mankins is finally over.

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi confirmed Wednesday that the Patriots have signed Mankins to a six-year contract. By signing Mankins to the long-term deal, the Patriots also lowered the six-year veteran's salary cap number, according to Lombardi. The story was first reported by ESPN.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft hinted to reporters early Wednesday that Mankins, who was set to play under a one-year, franchise-tag tender contract worth $10 million, would soon be signed to a long-term deal.

"Probably you'll see our good friend, Logan Mankins, will be signed up soon, hopefully, to be a Patriot for life," Kraft said, according to the team's website.

The value of the six-year deal was not known, but a source told the Boston Herald that Mankins will be the highest-paid interior offensive lineman in the league.

Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that the Patriots got some help in paying Mankins from recently acquired defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Citing a source familiar with the deal, the website reported that Haynesworth, who was due to earn $5.4 million in 2011, reduced his base salary to $1.5 million.

He can earn the money back in incentives, including $1 million if he plays in 20 percent of the plays and an additional $590,000 when he hits 45 percent, 50 percent, 55 percent, 60 percent and then 65 percent, according to the report. He can also earn $400,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl.

Haynesworth was traded from the Washington Redskins to New England for a late-round draft choice. The Patriots could not be reached for comment.

A first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2005, Mankins sat out the first eight weeks of the 2010 season after holding out over his status as a restricted free agent. Mankins signed his tender and reported to the team on Nov. 2 and started the final nine games of the season.

He was still named as a starter in the Pro Bowl, his third career selection.

Mankins had criticized the Patriots organization just before starting his holdout on June 14, 2010, the day before the team's minicamp began. He said the club asked him to play in 2009, the final year of his original five-year contract, and they would address his contract concerns after that season. He also said he wanted to be traded.

"Growing up, I was taught a man's word is his bond," he said in June 2010. "Obviously, this isn't the case with the Patriots."

He later apologized.

Mankins also was one of 10 players who were plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit filed against the NFL a few hours before the lockout began.

"All I know is," Kraft said Wednesday, "any face-to-face discussions I've had (with Mankins) or any private discussions have all been positive."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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