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What is Logan Mankins worth?

05.17.10 at 11:28 am ET
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Logan Mankins was a first-round pick out of Fresno State in 2005. (AP)

So what’s the going rate for a Pro Bowl left guard?

The Patriots and Logan Mankins have reportedly been going back and forth over an extension, with Mankins’ agent Frank Bauer telling the Herald on Sunday the two sides are “far apart” on a new deal. Mankins, a 28-year-old who has been to the Pro Bowl twice, was tendered a one-year deal for $3.268 million, but has not signed.

But what could Mankins realistically expect from the Patriots? Salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, writing for Football Outsiders, says Mankins could “possibly receive a deal in the $7-8 million per year range,” which would make him one of the highest paid interior offensive linemen in the NFL.

“One could make the argument that if a less accomplished Derrick Dockery can get a $7 million per year deal with $17.5 million guaranteed from Buffalo in 2007, then surely Mankins can get at least those numbers in 2010 from a club,” Halsell wrote in November 2009.

While the Patriots aren’t likely to be using the Bills’ team-building approach when it comes to negotiating a deal for Mankins, Halsell said yesterday in an e-mail that those figures — $7 million to $8 million a year — “still hold true” for Mankins, even in this climate of labor uncertainty. (Keep in mind that New Orleans’ guard Jahri Evans recently signed a seven-year worth almost $57 million.)

In that same story from Halsell (who also runs a webinar on the NFL cap — find out more about that at his site, salarycap101.com), he has a great breakdown of the top ten starting guard and center contracts, as of November 2009. When you stack up Mankins’ durability and resume, it’s easy to argue he deserves a spot on that list.

The quiet left guard out of Fresno State has started every game since his rookie season, a streak of 80 consecutive regular-season starts. This past season was a monument to his durability — he not only started every game, but according to Pro Football Focus (which ranked him as the best left guard in the AFC East), he was involved in every single offensive snap until the regular-season finale against Houston, when he took just nine snaps off.

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Pats reportedly ‘far apart’ in talks with Mankins about extension

05.17.10 at 12:41 am ET
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Logan Mankins and the Patriots have been working on a new contract for the Pro Bowl offensive lineman, and while Patriots owner Robert Kraft told ESPN on Sunday he hopes the “really hopes” the two sides can work out a new deal, Mankins’ agent told the Boston Herald that the two sides are still “pretty far apart” on a contract that could keep the All-Pro left guard in New England for the long term.

“There has been discussions,” said Frank Bauer, Mankins’ agent told the Herald.  “We’re pretty far apart. Let’s leave it at that.”

A restricted free agent, the 28-year-old Mankins had been tendered a one-year deal of $3.268 million. However, since Mankins hasn’t reportedly signed the tender and isn’t technically under contract, he’s not obligated to show up for any of the team’s offseason activities.

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Welker: I injured both ligaments, but only needed surgery on one

05.15.10 at 10:26 pm ET
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Wes Welker clarified some statements he made about the extent of his left knee injury on Saturday. (AP)

OK, so now things are a little bit clearer surrounding Wes Welker’s left knee injury.

A day after saying he injured “just the [anterior cruciate ligament]” in the regular-season finale against the Texans (which would run counter to reports that he had also injured the medial collateral ligament) Welker clarified things, saying Saturday he indeed injured two knee ligaments last season, but only one — the ACL — required surgery.

Speaking to The Associated Press at his football camp in Oklahoma City, the NFL’s receptions leader said the ACL and MCL in his left knee were injured during the Patriots’ final regular-season game. Welker, who also underwent rotator cuff surgery in the offseason, says the MCL didn’t require surgery and “if you have that healing on its own, it almost becomes stronger.”

“We just had to wait for it to heal,” Welker said of the MCL. “We didn’t have to do surgery on it.”

Welker reiterated the point that he isn’t certain when he’ll return to the field, but said the fact he didn’t need surgery on the MCL was “great news.”

“It’s hard to put a timetable on anything,” he said. “And plus, whenever you put a timetable on it, now people expect you. If you’re not ready then, they’re like, `What’s wrong?’

“I’m going to be back when I’m ready, and I’m just going to work as hard as I can to be back as early as I can.”

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Welker: I injured ‘just the ACL’

05.15.10 at 1:07 am ET
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Wes Welker gave his third interview in less than a week on Friday and touched on many of the same themes he hit on earlier in his two previous Q&A’s. But there was one new piece of information — he said that when it came to his left knee injury, he injured “just the [anterior cruciate ligament],” which would run counter to the reports that the wide receiver also injured his medial collateral ligament in the same knee in the regular-season finale against the Texans in January.

UPDATE: 1:52 A.M.: If Welker did injure only the ACL in his left knee — not the ACL AND MCL — this would drastically alter the rehab timetable, according to noted sports injury expert Will Carroll.

“I did a piece on this in last year’s Football Outsiders Almanac. The standard is not to repair the MCL, so there’s not a significant difference in the rehab now for ACL and MCL or just ACL,” Carroll said in an e-mail to WEEI.com. “There is, however, a big difference in the rehab. With the MCL, they try to make the leg stronger to hold it in place without the ligament.

“Overall, he should be healed to some level by training camp, but I’m not sure just how much. You saw Brady when he was coming back from it — I’m sure he didn’t look 100% on day one either, but he was back and playing. If it’s just ACL, it should take SOME time off, but not a lot.”

Speaking with The Associated Press during a fundraiser for his charitable foundation at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Welker added his rehab has been “strenuous,” but reiterated a point he made earlier in the week when said he wasn’t going to put a timetable on when he would be able to return.

“We’re not really putting a timetable on it. It’s too early for that right now,” said Welker, who repirtedly also had rotator cuff surgery this offseason. “My main thing is just working hard right now and getting back as soon as possible.

“We’re just kind of trucking along and trying to get better every day,” he added. “That’s kind of my motto of waking up and getting better every day. … Hopefully, we get to the point where we want to be.”

Welker finished 2009 with a franchise record 123 catches for 1,348 yards and four touchdowns despite missing two games. Since he joined the Patriots prior to the start of the 2007 season, Welker has been named to the Pro Bowl twice and averaged 115 catches a year.

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More thoughts from Kevin Faulk

05.14.10 at 1:35 pm ET
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Kevin Faulk talks this morning at Gillette Stadium.

We’ve already covered Kevin Faulk talking about his charity softball game, scheduled for later this weekend. Here are some other thoughts from the veteran running back, who talked this morning for almost 15 minutes with a small group of reporters at Gillette Stadium:

Had a chance to meet any of the rookies?

Of course. You always want to do that. As soon as they get in, you always want to meet some of the guys, especially the guys that you’ve watched play. In your conference, you’ve watched a lot of different guys playing. For me, this year, we have a lot of Florida guys coming in, so I paid attention to those guys a lot. I spoke to them, I spoke to [Rob Gronkowski]. I spoke to him because I loved his energy during the draft when he got drafted and everybody was standing around with their hats on. That made me feel good about him coming to the New England Patriots, because he was ready to come.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Current and ex-teammates flock to support Faulk

05.14.10 at 11:46 am ET
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Kevin Faulk is one of the most popular and well-respected players in the Patriots' locker room. (AP)

FOXBORO — Few guys in the Patriots locker room garner as much respect as Kevin Faulk — all you need to do is look at the lineup of current and former teammates who will be taking part in his annual charity softball game this weekend at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium.

The veteran running back has enlisted the support of more than 30 players to take part in an effort to help support the United Way of Massachusetts-Bay Area as well as the United Way of Acadiana in Lafayette (Louisiana).

By Faulk’s estimate, the game has raised more than $60,000.

“You would like to have raised more, but whatever you raise, it’s always good,” he said Friday during a break from workouts at Gillette Stadium. “It doesn’t matter how much it is — you raise money, you’re doing it for a good cause. It’s a great cause and we have fun doing it and I think the guys have fun playing the game.”

The lineup includes current players like Jerod Mayo, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, Sammy Morris, Gary Guyton, Nick Kaczur, Sebastian Vollmer, James Sanders, Brandon McGowan, Thomas Williams and Brian Hoyer, as well as former Patriots like Joe Andruzzi, Tedy Bruschi, Doug Flutie, Patrick Pass and Scott Zolak. (For more information on the game, check out Brocktonrox.com.)

“And we might have a few more in there that may be doing other stuff like umpiring. We may have more than one, more than two … we may have four umpires. Keep it fun with the guys that are around,” Faulk said.

“There’s a lot more people involved with it, especially current Patriots and former Patriots. That’s what ‘s really exciting to me about the event — as well as just being able to go out there and do something different.”

Faulk, who played baseball growing up in Louisiana, is one of several players in the New England locker room who have a baseball background. Tom Brady was drafted out of high school by the Expos and Gostkowski pitched collegiately at Memphis. In addition, Pass was drafted by the Marlins and Williams lettered in baseball as a high schooler.

Faulk’s pick for MVP is Gostkowski. But sometimes, watching the guys who can’t play is a lot more fun.

“I think that’s the funny part, just seeing the guys who can’t play a lick of softball,” Faulk said. “I think that’s the funny part. I think they like it too because they’re just out there having fun and raising money for the kids.”

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Burgess reportedly re-signs with Patriots

05.14.10 at 10:27 am ET
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The Patriots have re-signed defensive end Derrick Burgess to a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 31-year-old Burgess, who was acquired by New England last summer in a trade for a pair of draft picks, had five sacks last season for the Patriots. The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder is a two-time Pro Bowler who had a career-high 16 sacks in 2005.

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