Pro Bowl Patriots guard Logan Mankins will report to New England on Tuesday and sign his restricted free agent tender worth $1.54 million, a league source said Monday night.
Mankins was originally offered a tender worth $3.26 million. When he failed to sign the tender by midnight on June 14, the Patriots reduced the tender to $1.54 million, which will be further reduced because it will be prorated over the remaining nine games of the season.
Mankins is signing sooner than expected. The common thinking was that Mankins would report by the final deadline of Nov. 16, making him eligible to be paid and play in the final seven games because the Patriots had their bye in Week 5. By signing sooner, the Patriots will be able to activate him when they believe he is ready to play. He could play as early as Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
"We'd love to have him back," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in September. "He's a great football player."
Mankins, a two-time Pro Bowler, would have been an unrestricted free agent under the rules of the last collective bargaining agreement. However, when the owners opted out of the deal, triggering 2010's uncapped year, only players with six years in the NFL gained unrestricted status. By signing now, Mankins assures himself a chance at becoming an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The only way the Patriots can restrict Mankins' free agency in 2011 would be to place a franchise tag on him in February at a considerably higher guaranteed value than the restricted contract tenders. A transition tag also would be available, but the Patriots would not receive any draft-pick compensation if he left and would have only right of first refusal on any contract the player signed with another team.
Adam Schefter is an ESPN NFL Insider.