If you’ve followed the Logan Mankins saga over the last year, today’s news finally gives you a reason to believe that things are finally headed in the right direction.

According to published reports the Patriots offensive lineman agreed to sign his franchise tender on Tuesday, and is expected to be in training camp this week. Considering the rhetoric that has gone on from his agent, Frank Bauer, over the past year, most had thought that his future in New England was starting to look pretty bleak. Bauer’s made quite a few outlandish claims throughout the process, even saying after the 2010 season – in which Mankins sat out until week 7 (although he did come back three weeks sooner than he could have) – that it was a “travesty” his client didn’t have a new contract. He’s made no bones about calling out the Patriots front office for being unfair to his client, including questioning their integrity.

It may be the ugliest public exchange of comments by an agent and player that we’ve seen since the days of the Poston Brothers and the Ty Law negotiations.


It appears that things are finally heading in the right direction with Patriots guard Logan Mankins. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

By all accounts he’s an old-school agent who’s played hardball throughout, but it sounds like he may finally be changing his tune. With training camp set to begin Bauer told ESPNBoston.com that Mankins is looking forward to a ‘fresh start’ with head coach Bill belichick and his teammates.

“Early [Tuesday] morning, Logan spoke with Bill [Belichick] and both are very happy, happy to get started,” Bauer told ESPNBoston.com. “Logan is looking forward to being with his teammates and coaches, with a fresh start.”

It’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago he publicly requested a trade and didn’t sign his restricted free-agent tender until just before the team was scheduled to take on the Cleveland Browns in week 7. At the time he was welcomed back by head coach Bill Belichick with open arms, and even went on to immediately start that week out in Cleveland.

From all reports it sounds like the Patriots want to work something out to keep him here. The only problem appeared to be that during the process he and his agent had reportedly been told by the front office that they needed to figure things out with the new CBA before committing to a long term deal. While Bauer may have balked at that idea and said plenty of things he’d like to take back, perhaps now he’s seeing things differently.

Now that they know the “rules” and parameters in which to structure his deal, they may finally be ready to work out a long-term contract that makes sense for both sides, and will anchor the left side of the offense in front of Tom Brady for years to come.

Obviously with business finally opening up for the Patriots, they have plenty that they’ll need to get off their plate before the two sides can get something done – but they have more than enough time. According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, September 20th is the next potential deadline for franchise players to reach an extension in the new labor agreement. Otherwise Mankins would simply be forced to play out the year for what is currently a $10.1 million deal.

That’s a great deal for Mankins, but not for the Patriots. The team issued a release a few months ago and sounded like they were sincerely committed to getting something done long-term, which would allow them to make Mankins happy and lower his cap number. That sounds like the more realistic scenario at this point.

Either way it looks like they’re at least in a better place than had been previously thought. That in itself is reason enough to be feeling pretty good about something getting done.