The Patriots have, potentially, a major problem on their hands. Star guard and restricted free agent Logan Mankins refused to sign the restricted free agent tender, had his salary slashed, and is demanding a trade.
This time, it's hard to point the finger at the Patriots' front office for this negotiating breakdown.
Mankins isn't in the company of Asante Samuel and Richard Seymour, premier players who were allowed to walk rather than given fair offers by New England. The Patriots have tried to sign Mankins, and it hasn't been enough.
The Patriots have the reputation of being cheap with impending free agents and fiscal with contracts, but that isn't the case with this situation. New England's offered Mankins, a Pro-Bowler and important part of the offense, a five-year, $35 million deal. It would make him one of the top five highest-paid players in the NFL at his position.
And it's not enough.
It appears Mankins is taking the same stance Darrelle Revis is taking in New York. Both saw others at their position break the bank earlier (Nnamdi Asomugha with Oakland, Steve Hutchinson in Minnesota), so position in the top group doesn't matter anymore. What's important is being close to that top contract.
Making seven million a year may be more than almost all the other guards in the league, but if it's still three million (for example) less than the top contract, it's not good enough.
The Patriots have made their offer, and Mankins isn't backing down. This could be a lingering issue for New England throughout the summer.