FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Wednesday afternoon that "probably you'll see our good friend Logan Mankins will be signed up soon, hopefully to be a Patriot for life," he wasn't kidding.
The guard agreed to a six-year deal with the team later in the day, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Kraft had said that the prospect of keeping Mankins long-term "couldn't have happened if we didn't do our planning for when we went into the lockout."
Mankins, an All-Pro in 2010, was assigned the franchise tag by the team this season. He was set to earn $10.1 million on a one-year contract but preferred the added security of a long-term deal.
Kraft had said that he wanted to get a deal done and hoped Mankins' camp did too, before the Sept. 20 deadline for tagged players to ink extensions.
"You can't sign everyone you want, so you need to plan and I think we did our planning knowing the kind of environment we were (in) coming into it," Kraft said. "We tried to position ourselves so we had our core veterans and we could continue to sign the people we want to sign. We think that Logan is among the best there is at the position. We drafted him and we want him here."
Mankins' desire for a long-term deal had led to a contentious relationship with the team over the past 16 months. Last season, he didn't report to the team until the eighth game of the season, unhappy with the decision to offer him a one-year, $3.26 million tender (which was eventually cut to $1.54 million) instead of a long-term contract. Earlier in this year's camp, though, Mankins said he saw this season as a chance to start fresh.
"This year, I'm putting everything behind me," Mankins said at the time. "I'm going to try to have a good year and help the team, and if I play good, things will take care of themselves."
Asked if it was encouraging to hear Mankins speak about the possibility of remaining a Patriot earlier in training camp, Kraft said Wednesday it was consistent with what he's heard from Mankins in his seven years with the team.
Kraft also shared thoughts on one of the Patriots' new acquisitions, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, who comes with an impressive football resume and on- and off-field baggage.
"I met with him and I like the guy. He didn't come here for the money. He came here to be part of a team and win (and) I think in some ways improve his reputation," Kraft said. "So it's like a lot of meetings I have with these guys, I found him to be genuine and sincere. Now I hope he gets out on the field and does his thing."
Meanwhile, Kraft has enjoyed having receiver Chad Ochocinco on the team.
"I think you have to love the guy. I have people emailing me who would like to host him. I'm not sure I want the responsibility," Kraft said with a smile, one day after Ochocinco declared he would be living with a fan for the first few weeks of the season until he gets acclimated.
Kraft also retraced the Patriots' steps from before the lockout.
"One of the things I'm most proud of coming into the season is we knew this was coming, and we made an effort to tie up our key veterans, people like Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski and Vince Wilfork," he said. "Now, when you have this quick period where you have to react, we were able to get a lot of seasoned veterans on shorter-term contracts -- people like Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco, Andre Carter and Shaun Ellis.
"As you look out and look to the playoffs at the end of this year, I think you'll see those teams that had stability both in terms of their coaching and quarterback have the best chance, in my opinion. ... That's been done with a lot of thought and a lot of planning."
Kraft touched briefly on his role in labor negotiations while praising Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, who was a leading presence as part of the players' executive committee and who gave a public nod to Kraft for his role in the process just days after his wife's death.
"The NFL and the NFL players and owners are lucky that there was a guy like Jeff Saturday in the league," Kraft said. "Players are passing through, but he took the role of a principal and he made every negotiating session. He represented the interests of the players. The reason we don't have double practices, he put so much time and effort. Without Jeff Saturday, there wouldn't have been a deal.
"His ability and perseverance; it's hard to like the center for Peyton Manning, but I really liked the guy," Kraft said, drawing laughter from reporters.
Kraft also revealed that he received a letter of thanks from Colts president Bill Polian, who has been one of the franchise's biggest adversaries over the last decade.
"I'm just happy football is back," Kraft said. "This is our 18th season and we never dreamt there would be a lockout like this.
"Football is back in Foxborough."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.