Many NFL players give teams negotiating leverage with the way they handle their finances and lives away from the field. They develop dependence on teams because they need the money now.
New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie had to take out an advance on his salary to pay off child-support debts. Before the Jets signed backup quarterback Mark Brunell, he filed for bankruptcy, having blown through the $52 million he made over his career with failed real estate investments.
Boston Herald reporter Ian R. Rapoport researched a story on what's going on with Mankins by speaking with associates of the two-time Pro Bowler. They say Mankins is under no financial pressure to return to the Patriots because he has saved his money and has few expenses and will refuse to rejoin the team out of principle.
Mankins should have been an unrestricted free agent this year, but rules pertaining to the uncapped season rendered him restricted. He viewed the $3.26 million qualifying offer the Patriots extended as an insult and publicly demanded a trade in an interview with ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.
Perhaps the most troubling sign for the Patriots is that friends say Mankins does not spend any money. He has been frugal and cautious with his salary, they say, with a ranch that is paid for and self-sufficient, with few operating costs.
Rapoport reports Mankins' friends express skepticism Mankins will play for the Patriots at this point even if they give him the money he wants. The proverbial horse is out of the barn. They also noted Mankins hasn't heard from the Patriots since May 4.
Mankins' agent, Frank Bauer, told Boston Globe reporter Albert Breer the Patriots "have totally lost this player mentally" over the way he has been treated in light of the New Orleans Saints giving guard Jahri Evans, a seven-year, $56.7 million extension.
Evans was drafted in the fourth round in 2006 and has been to one Pro Bowl. Mankins was a first-round draft choice in 2005 and has been selected for two Pro Bowls.
The Patriots moved right tackle Nick Kaczur to left guard to replace the missing Mankins. Kaczur underwent potentially season-ending back surgery. Dan Connolly is holding down the spot. Connolly is entering his fifth season and has four career starts.