FOXBORO, Mass. — So, this is awkward.
If the Patriots' front office has a public enemy No. 1 at this point in time, it might be Saints right guard Jahri Evans, who signed a historic contract this offseason. Evans locked down a $56.7 million, seven-year deal with New Orleans, and it's highly believed that Evans' contract set off a chain reaction that caused Patriots left guard Logan Mankins to demand a trade.
Thus, Mankins never signed his restricted free-agent contract tender, and there's simply no telling whether he'll play for the organization ever again.
"Yeah, I've heard a little bit about it," Evans said Tuesday after the Saints practiced with the Patriots. "Not too much, but I heard a little bit."
Reports indicated the Patriots offered Mankins a five-year deal worth as much as $35 million, although the structure of the deal was uncertain. The contract would have made Mankins one of the five highest-paid players at his position. After Mankins rejected the offer, he went off on a tirade, and the Patriots have been forced to move forward without the only guy who has started at left guard for them since 2005.
Evans wouldn?t really get into Mankins' situation, which was the politically correct thing to do, but he could somewhat relate. The big difference? Evans never held out when he was given a restricted tender in 2009.
"I just knew what my situation was," Evans said. "I was in the same boat a year ago when I got tendered. [General manager] Mickey [Loomis] and [the Saints] just thought it would be a good thing to get it done this year, and that?s what we did."
Even though Evans was vague about most Mankins-related questions, he did serve up an answer when asked if Mankins was one of the five best guards in the league.
"I think so," Evans said. "I think he's a good guard."