Last year, the New England Patriots retained the rights to offensive lineman Logan Mankins via the highest possible restricted free agency tender. This year, Mankins will be restricted again.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reports that the Patriots will apply the franchise tag to Mankins.
The tag has not yet been applied. The window for doing so opened today, and it expires in two weeks.
A legal fight looms regarding the question of whether the franchise tag is available in the final year of the current labor contract. It’s unlikely that a donut hole will be created, but the NFLPA could extract a concession or two from the league if a challenge to the plan to use the tag prevails, forcing the league to negotiate in order to change the status quo.
The good news for Mankins is that he’ll get a much higher one-year payday, since his salary will be determined based on the average of the top five offensive linemen salaries for 2010.