Logan Mankins Just Another Victim of The Patriot Way

NEPD Staff Writer: Jason Cappell

It’s never easy for fans to say goodbye to one of their favorites. But for Patriots fans it’s a concept that certainly isn’t new. While Logan Mankins is one of the all-time great Patriot players, it’s clear that over the past few years his reputation exceeds his level of play.

Like many others before him, Mankins’ tenure with the Patriots came to an end because of his age and an inflated contract that no longer reflects the type of player he is.

There’s no doubt that Logan Mankins’ nine years with the Patriots were memorable. He lived up to everything the Patriots asked of him, and more, since they selected him 32nd overall in 2005. He was tough and durable, missing only 14 games in nine seasons. He did whatever the team asked of him, including filling in at Left Tackle last year when Nate Solder was hurt. Patriots’ fans know that Mankins is as tough as they come, and in 2011 that was made evident when he played through the majority of the season on a partially torn ACL.

But as the “Patriot Way” goes, football is a business and no single player trumps the greater good of the team. Though it remains to be seen whether Mankins can play at a high level in Tampa, it’s clear for the Patriots that at $10.5 million he was no longer worth it.

While Mankins proved to be an asset in the run game, his lateral movement continued to decline and as a result he struggled in pass-protection. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) Mankins allowed 11 sacks and 22 quarterback pressures over 18 games played last year. These numbers are far and above the worst of his career and simply don’t warrant the type of money he was set to make.

Although the news of Mankins departure is heart breaking to some, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Bill Belichick has never been afraid to make a bold move, and sending Mankins to the Buccaneers is just the latest example.

Belichick has always stressed that it’s better to get rid of a player a year early than a year too late. Time after time he gets the best years out of a player and then proceeds to deal them away just before age or injury becomes an issue. While Mankins is a six time Pro-Bowler and three-time Patriots captain, his better years are clearly behind him.

All in all trading Mankins is just another prime example of how the Patriots are one of the most business-like franchises in the NFL. While some teams allow their aging veterans to play out their lofty contracts, the Patriots don’t. You can call it coldblooded or heartless, but Bill Belichick has a different word for it; business.

The story is very simple. The Patriots wanted Logan Mankins to take a pay cut and Mankins respectfully declined, so New England took matters into their own hands. Since joining the Patriots in 2000 Belichick has made it clear that everyone is replaceable and if you aren’t willing to take one for the team he’ll have no problem finding someone else that will.

At the end of the day, whether fair or not, Belichick doesn’t care how many Pro Bowls you’ve been to, or how many times you’ve been named All-Pro. It might be ruthless, but it’s a formula that’s worked for the Patriots since day one. Each year he assesses his roster and questions whether everyone is playing well enough to justify their paycheck, and if not, how can the team make better use of that money elsewhere.

In Logan Mankins’ case the Patriots decided his salary was too rich for their liking and instead of making Mankins the 2nd highest paid Guard in the NFL they chose to trade him for versatile tight end Tim Wright and a 4th round draft pick. New England will instead continue to develop younger players with reasonable contracts, and as a result save more than $13 million in cap space over the next two seasons.

Whether it’s Jordan Devey, Marcus Cannon or Josh Kline that steps in at Left Guard, the drop off in talent shouldn’t be too noticeable. All three linemen have proved they’re capable of playing in the NFL and will continue to develop. Although it’s unlikely that any of them will ever turn out to be quite as talented as Mankins.

The truth is that managing cap space is vital in the NFL, and by trading Mankins the Patriots can make smarter financial investments such as long-term contracts for Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty.

The Patriots history of shedding salary and disposing veteran talent is well documented, but it clearly hasn’t stopped them from being successful. The Patriots have compiled a record of 163-61 in the Belichick era, winning three Super Bowls, five Conference Championships, and notching double-digit wins every year since 2003.

Throughout his entire Patriots tenure Belichick has stuck to his guns and never allowed a veteran’s salary to exceed their level of play, and the moment they do, that player is shown the door. Much like Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, Randy Moss and Mike Vrabel before him, Mankins suffered the same fate.Unlike other teams around the NFL, the Patriots aren’t sentimental towards their veterans, and don’t always make decisions to appease their fans. And like it or not, that’s why they’ve been good for so long.

Tags: Logan Mankins

11 Responses to “Logan Mankins Just Another Victim of The Patriot Way”

  1. when will willfork be leaving?

    • steve earle says:

      I’d guess when his play doesn’t reflect his contract. He did restructure this spring so this should buy him some time as will, I believe, Bill giving him time to work back into the best he can be. Thats what you do with a vet like him.

  2. Paul Hayes says:

    Like many others before him I fully expect BB to trade Brady at some point. I know this is tantamount to blasphemy but it’s pretty clear that Garoppolo will be Brady’s heir. Therefore I don’t see Bragy playing for the Pats beyond the 2015 season. BB has stated that it’s better to move a player a year too early rather than a year too late. I believe that if JG continues to develop in a positive manner, that 2014 might be TB’s last year here. The bounty that Brady could bring may be too much to resist. The Pats could certainly get several high draft picks for him. Those draft picks could help set up the future of the franchise. There are several teams that are an elite QB away from winning it all. A team such as the Rams would become instant SB contenders. I’m sure there’s a team out there willing to go all in for a chance to win the SB. Such is the “Patriots way”.

  3. Grendel_the_Dog says:

    Please, someone, victimize me like the Pats did Mankins! Fine article except for that word. But:

    (1) All good teams cut established vets, even the “face of the franchise” guys when they can’t play up to their contract — otherwise Champ Bailey would be a Bronco now instead of currently unemployed. That’s not the Patriot way so much as the Salary Cap way or the NFL Way.

    (2) Mankins could have taken less guaranteed money and stayed with the Pats. He chose not to. The Pats chose to trade a guy who has regularly made the “Most Overrated” and “Worst Contract” lists. In other words, some Pats fans and reporters will criticize the team for paying him, and others for trading him — and more than a few for whatever they do with him.

  4. Russo says:

    Now this is a great article. Very well written

  5. Michael says:

    Logan Mankins wasn’t the victim of
    anything. He wasn’t dumped on a pile
    as cited earlier, he was moved to a
    team who will honor his contract.
    He passed on his opportunity to
    stay with NE and chose to go for
    the bucks.

  6. Suffolk72 says:

    Please for all the Patriots haters. Logan Mankins received over 31 million dollars in the last 3 years. He was extremely well paid for his services. He is no longer worth it In fact there is not a single guard in football who is worth it. Neither he or any fans should say he was disrespected.

  7. MaineMan says:

    VERY nicely put.

    So many Pats fans complain about the Pats not having quite enough to get over the top and win another set of rings and then also complain about BB’s “coldheartedness” in shedding long-time stalwarts like Mankins. What most don’t seem to understand is that it’s precisely the moves like the Mankins trade, made at the right time, that allow *their team* to continue getting into the playoffs – without which accomplishment, the Pats would not even have a chance to compete for the rings. The examples of teams that don’t “do business” like BB does and rarely get into the playoffs are too numerous to list.

    BB’s record of success pretty much proves that you can’t have it both ways.

    • DMC413 says:

      MM,

      To piggyback off what you said many players hold out when they feel they have Out-Played their current contract and many of the peanuts thrown from the gallery is “Pay that man”. So why is it looked at differently when a coach does the same thing. Mankins play has declined coupled with his age hints at it wasn’t just a bad year and his decline in play will probably continue, hey the proverbial Father-Time gets us all!

      But its not like we just out right did him dirty and cut him. We traded him so he’s still employed… but before that the gesture of asking him to take a pay cut should have been a hint to him of what could possibly to come.

      Big Vince saw the writing on the wall and played his cards right… and he still a PAT today for it. Its a game we love to watch but its the Business side that determines if your team is a contender year in and out!!!

  8. Joe Loiselle says:

    Well said Jason. As a life long fan and 23 year season ticket owner, my initial reaction was anger. Mankins to me, was durable and tough. He backed down from no one and more than a few times engaged in post whistle tussles and set the tone of physicality. I recognize that the end game of being successful is to take emotion out of managing a successful.franchise so I understand BB’s decision, but still don’t like the void that will most certainly be felt in the short term.
    E

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