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Bringing context to the Mankins situation

Posted by Albert Breer  June 25, 2010 02:18 PM

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Yahoo! NFL writer Jason Cole did a nice job today of laying out all the big, screaming contract disputes across the league.

Logan Mankins is in there, of course, but not alone. Also listed are Chargers WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill, Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth (less of a contract problem, than a philosophical one), Jets CB Darrelle Revis and Titans RB Chris Johnson.

In isolating Mankins, Jackson and McNeill -- the disgruntled would-be-UFAs-who-are-RFAs -- Cole clearly raised the players' greatest leverage point: Withholding services and the resulting distraction. That, as we've explained in the past, is why these three players chose to take the risk in not signing the RFA tender by June 15 and incur the paycut to 110 percent of their respective 2009 salaries.

It's pretty simple. If these players are resolute that they won't, in any way, play under the one-year tender, then why would it matter what dollar amount is affixed to it?

What is there to gain by not signing it? That leverage point above, actually. By signing the tender, the teams can fine the players $16,523 per day for not reporting to training camp. On top of that, a holdout could be hollow in that scenario anyway -- if a signed player doesn't report by Aug. 10, he's subject to the 30-day rule, which takes away his ability to earn that accrued season toward free agency.

In not signing it, the player only has to report by Week 10 to earn the year, and doesn't risk any fines. Which is why it makes sense that these guys wouldn't sign those tenders under the risk of losing the aforementioned money on the tender.

Anyway, the Mankins situation remains as unpredictable a contract situation as I've covered before, because I'm not sure that simply sweetening the pot financially will change things. I think, because Mankins's stand is a principled one, there'd have to be a lot of fence-mending. And it's my sense that the Patriots are less than happy about the player's public reaction to the climate of negotiations. All of which leaves this thing is a pretty precarious place.

But then, as Cole notes, this is the time of year when these things arise, and the Patriots aren't the only ones sorting through them.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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