Logan Mankins & possible settlement

The NFL lockout is nearing its end -- NFLPA spokesman George Atallah made reference to being at the 25th mile of a marathon -- and Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins is at the heart of one of the remaining issues.

There still must be a settlement of the players' antitrust suit against the NFL, and Mankins is one of the 10 plaintiffs.

Along those lines, Mankins is requesting a $10 million payment or to be an unrestricted free agent immediately, Yahoo! Sports reported Monday, citing sources.

In a story now posted on ESPN.com and ESPNBoston.com, NFL Insider Adam Schefter cites a source doubting the issue would hold up a settlement.

OPINION: From this view, when considering Mankins' position, it can't hurt to make demands because he finds himself in a position of leverage. Mankins hasn't had such leverage over the first six years of his NFL career. Still, I'd be surprised if he becomes an unrestricted free agent immediately. I'd also be surprised if Mankins uses his position as a plaintiff to possibly put the entire NFL labor agreement at risk. A more likely scenario from this view, as presented by ESPN senior analyst Chris Mortensen, is that the settlement would include a provision that the franchise tag couldn't be applied to him in 2012 and beyond.