Judging by Robert Kraft‘s comments to WEEI on Monday, it sounds like Mankins and the Patriots have ended their cold war, given each other a proverbial kiss and made up.
However, they’ve still got that contract to sort through.
Kraft told WEEI that Mankins apologized to him about three weeks ago for the public lashing Mankins laid out on the organization this offseason. Kraft also shot down Sunday’s report on ESPN.com that indicated the two sides struck a deal before Mankins walked away over a trivial spat regarding a public apology. The Patriots owner went so far as to call the report “a bold-faced fib.”
“I got a call three weeks ago, maybe, something around that time, from Logan,” Kraft told WEEI. “He apologized to me for the comments that he made in the public media. He said that he regretted he did it. He knew in retrospect that they were not true, and I accepted his apology because he is a high-quality guy. I also said to him, ‘You know, Logan, it would be nice if that was made public because I’m hoping we do a deal with you. And I don’t want people to think that the way you do a deal is to say something that’s not true or involve ownership.”
See, Mankins is a good guy after all. No one ever really disputed that, and Kraft’s radio interview could further the belief that Mankins’ derogatory comments this offseason were the result of bad advice. For such a low-maintenance, high-character guy like Mankins, those comments — and his business decision, as a result — seemed completely out of whack.
Kraft continued: “He said, ‘Look, Mr. Kraft, I feel bad. I will correct what I said, either when I sign with the New England Patriots or if I get traded and sign somewhere else.’ And he said that, ‘My hope and intention is that I’ll be a Patriot and go into the Patriots Hall of Fame.’ And I said the same thing to him. And then there’s been a negotiation, but we have never had a deal.”
All along, it seemed like the biggest hiccup in a potential resolution between Mankins and the organization surrounded a level of respect that has nothing to do with money. Now that the hard part is out of the way, maybe a contract could be around the corner.
But since money remains a real issue, Kraft said the Patriots offered Mankins a contract that “was comparable with Nick Mangold‘s salary.” Mangold, the Jets center, signed a $55 million, seven-year contract last month, and that’s slightly less than Saints guard Jahri Evans‘ $56.7 million, seven-year deal.
After New England’s impressive 38-24 victory Sunday against the Bengals, quarterback Tom Brady said the Patriots have “as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had.”
Now that there’s been progress made with Mankins, it could become even better.
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