Mankins claims he might return to Patriots

The answer to one of the AFC East's biggest offseason questions depends on whether or not All-Pro guard Logan Mankins had enough fun in two months to forget all that fuss that led him to demand a trade in June.

Logan Mankins

Logan Mankins

#70 G
New England Patriots

Mankins' contract with the New England Patriots is up and, contingent upon the rules set forth in the new collective bargaining agreement, almost certainly will be an unrestricted free agent.

Mankins was supposed to be unrestricted last offseason, but rules for an uncapped year made him restricted. The Patriots offered him a basic qualifying offer. He was furious, refused to sign and missed the first seven games until he acquiesced.

Despite missing so much time, Mankins was voted a starter for the Pro Bowl and selected first-team All-Pro.

But did Mankins enjoy himself enough on a division championship team that he might have changed his mind? He lost only twice, his first game back and the Patriots' one-and-done playoff exit.

Mankins told Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian he had a blast, and he isn't ruling out a New England return.

"There are 32 teams in play," Mankins told Guregian at Pro Bowl practice. "Whatever one I feel is the best situation for me.

"There's always a possibility. But to tell you the truth, I haven't given it much thought right now. If there was a CBA, I'm sure I'd be thinking about it a lot more."

But Mankins clearly hasn't forgotten the way the Patriots treated him. He would have returned to the team earlier had owner Robert Kraft not insisted Mankins make a public apology for the contract dispute.

"Well, everyone knows I apologized to Mr. Kraft," Mankins said. "He told everyone."