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By Tom E. Curran
Stephen Gostkowski and Logan Mankins were in identical situations entering this offseason. Both had played out their contracts and were set to become unrestricted free agents, but the lack of a new CBA locked them down. They were, instead, restricted free agents.
And that's where their stories diverge. Gostkowski signed the $1.79 million tender offer the Patriots put in front of him for 2010. He showed up and his representatives kept negotiating. Voila, on Wednesday he got a four-year extension worth about $3.5 million per season.
Mankins, meanwhile, turned his nose up to the $3.54 million tender offer the Patriots slid to him. He didn't show up for a thing. His agent amped up the rhetoric. Then Mankins did. The tender offer got sliced in half. Offers on the table got pulled back. And now Mankins is gathering dust. He's staring at a year without income in 2010. And, if there's a lockout, no income again in 2011.
I spoke with Jonathan Kraft this week and he's mystified over the way this Mankins negotiation - or what passes for negotiation - has gone. We'll have more on that Thursday and Friday.
The fact Mankins is looking to pull down twice what Gostkowski could command is germane. But it's not like their situations are apples to oranges; more like apples to smaller apples.
Anyone presuming that the kicker's deal was done to send a message to Mankins doesn't understand how much $15 million is. You don't throw that at one guy so you can stick your tongue out at another.
But a message does get sent, just the same.New England Patriots, Logan Mankins, Jonathan Kraft, Stephen Gostkowski