Patriots president Jonathan Kraft took a shot at Logan Mankins' agent Monday, and Kraft also said he holds out hope that the team can work out a long-term deal with the Pro Bowl left guard.
The Patriots placed the franchise tag on Mankins last month, but Mankins did not sign the tender prior to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. It's still not clear if the franchise tag will remain in place under the new CBA.
It's also important to note the Patriots and Mankins cannot negotiate during the lockout.
Mankins and his agent, Frank Bauer, have been unhappy with the contract negotiations with the Patriots during the last year.
"I think, sometimes, agents feel it's their job to throw out rhetoric to get things moving when they can't get things moving in the traditional way," Kraft told reporters at the owners meetings in New Orleans.
"The bottom line is I don't recall any situation since Bill Belichick has been our head coach where there has been a divide. We sit down in a room, and we discuss things that are big things, and we have a unified front. That's the case in this situation, too.
"I think the agent, in this case, I think he feels rhetoric helps to get deals done. We feel like we put a very fair offer on the table. We would like Logan to be a Patriot, retire a Patriot. He's a great football player. But we're not allowed to talk to Logan or his agent until all of this [labor situation] gets resolved."