|Mankins, Wilfork discuss their deals||06.08.09 at 1:30 pm ET|
BOLTON — Two players with rapidly expiring contracts were front and center at Monday’s Patriots Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament at the International. Offensive lineman Logan Mankins and nose tackle Vince Wilfork both have deals that are up at the end of the 2009 season, and prior to hitting the course, both were talking about their situations.
Back in 2004, Wilfork signed a six-year deal as a rookie, which expires at the end of the upcoming season. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound nose tackle didn’t show for the most recent round of organized team activities (OTAs), sparking concern that the Pro Bowler was looking for a new deal similar to the $100 million contract that Albert Haynesworth signed with Washington in the offseason.
But he told WEEI’s “Dale & Holley” Monday morning (click here to listen to the interview) that contrary to rumors, he isn’t looking to “sign this big-time, going-down-in-history, the best contract there is.” Instead, he simply wants to be “comfortable.”
“It’s nothing personal towards the organization, it’s nothing personal towards my coaches or anything like that,” said the 27-year-old Wilfork. “It’s just basically what made the most sense to me at this point in time.
“It’s not the first time a player has gone through a contract negotiation problem. So I try to stay positive and at the same time do what’s best for me and my family. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.”
“I’m a big fan of Vince Wilfork, and unfortunately, the business part of this game is something that goes on every year with most teams,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “We’re lucky to have Vince. I hope he’s here for the long term. These things usually have a way of working themselves out.
“There’s a lot of things factoring in here. In the end, everyone should know the Patriots are always trying to make decisions to put our franchise and team in the best position to win consistently. And that’s what our mantra is.”
Mankins, whose contract is also up after the 2009 season, said he would like to sign a long-term deal and stay in New England, but the 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman understands the situation is not up to him right now.
“Of course, you always wish you have everything taken care of early, but it’s up to the Patriots to do what they want,” said the 26-year-old left guard. “It’s out of my hands. It’s up to whatever they want to do.”
Mankins is entering the final year of a five-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2005, but in contrast to Wilfork, said Monday there are no concerns about his contract right now. Instead, sounding remarkably pragmatic about the whole situation, Mankins proclaimed that the focus is on football and the 2009 season.
“I figure my contract will take care of itself, whether they give me a new one or move on next year,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Mankins, who has never missed a practice in his four seasons with the Patriots, said he understood where Wilfork was coming from, but would never think of skipping out on a practice himself.
“I signed a contract. I was the one who signed it, and so I feel obligated to be here and practicing, so when my contract is up, that’s when I’ll move on,” said Mankins, who made the Pro Bowl in 2007. “If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. You can’t practice. But if you’re not injured and you can practice, you should be out there.
“Vince’s situation is different than mine. He’s a year older, he’s played one more year than I have, so he’s looking at it from a different angle than I am. Everything is different for each person — I don’t blame Vince for doing what he’s doing. Vince, he’s a good guy, a good teammate. He’s always been good to this franchise. He has to do what he has to do.”
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