Left guard Logan Mankins' contentious two-year relationship with the Patriots quickly became peaceful over the last months. He immediately signed his franchise tender, reported to training camp on time and spoke highly of owner Robert Kraft and the organization.
Clearly, the complicated deal had been in the works since the conclusion of the lockout, and everything came to fruition Wednesday when the two sides reached a six-year agreement, according to reports.
Just hours before the news broke, Kraft said he expected a resolution to happen "soon," and he hoped Mankins would retire as a Patriot.
It wasn't very long ago when that thought of a long-term marriage was laughable, but the two sides made it work. Ironically, the franchise tag — which is so ruthlessly despised by players who want to hit free agency — was a principal conductor of the deal.
The Patriots hit Mankins with the tag before the lockout, guaranteeing him a base salary of $10.1 million in 2011. Though Mankins said as recently as April that he wanted to measure his value in free agency — and likely hoped that the tag would expire in the new collective bargaining agreement — he inked the tender soon after the lockout.
In doing so, it forced the Patriots' hand. They probably weren't keen on the idea of paying Mankins such a high salary in 2011, so they were more inclined to restructure his deal. As one thing led to another, the two sides had to realize they worked better together than apart.
It definitely wasn't pretty, but the money talked and the pens walked. Now, Mankins can focus on backing it up on the field, the thing he does better than anything else.