The Patriots became the first team to officially use the franchise tag on a player this year when they placed the tag on guard Logan Mankins, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The NFLPA disputes the league’s ability to use the tag, and it’s quite possible this original designation won’t mean much in the long term.
In the short term, this was a fully expected no-brainer move by the Patriots to retain the rights to one of their most valuable players. Schefter estimates the cost of the tag for offensive linemen should be around $10.1 million, so Mankins is due for a huge pay increase whether he gets a long-term deal or not. (ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss points out Mankins will make more in 2011 than his whole career by far if he signs the tender.)
The Patriots and Mankins have experienced a stormy relationship over the last year, but Mankins was all business when he returned to the team after a prolonged absence to open the ’10 season. At the Pro Bowl, Mankins sounded unexcited about returning to the Patriots in 2011; he may not have a choice now.
It’s also possible the team could trade Mankins like they once did to Tebucky Jones when he was given the tag in 2003.