In perusing the early-week mailbag, I found nearly identical missives from Kevin and Ari. Kevin, of Lansing, Mich., sent a cleaner version:
You do realize that there are more teams in the NFC North than Minnesota and Green Bay, right? Look at your blogs over the past month and you will see that the majority of your reporting is about Minnesota and Green Bay. Chicago and Detroit barely get mentions. Balance, please.
Hey, I'll take that as a sure sign of progress. We've doubled our saturation in less than a year!
Now to the task at hand: A number of other readers are asking about Logan Mankins, the New England Patriots guard who requested a trade Monday because he hasn't been able to work out a long-term contract. Patrick of Indianapolis thinks Mankins would make sense for the Chicago Bears:
Logan Mankins just said he doesn't want to sign his tender with the Pats. Do you see this as an opportunity for the Bears to come in and snap him up at a discount? And at what sort of cost would you imagine this would come? 4th, 5th, 6th rounders?
First, let's get everyone up to date on Mankins' situation. The changes in free agency rules reclassified him as a restricted free agent, and frustration over the Patriots' limited offer prompted him to tell Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com that he wants a trade.
The Bears have an opening at left guard after moving Frank Omiyale to right tackle, but Mankins seems unlikely to land in Chicago. Among the reasons:
The Patriots don't have much incentive to trade him. If he doesn't eventually accept their offer, for one year or multiple years, his only option at this point is to sit out the season. With a work stoppage looming next year, that might not be an advisable approach.
I get the sense the Bears aren't looking to ship out more draft choices after trades gutted their 2008 and 2009 drafts.
It wouldn't make sense to give up a draft pick for a guard who is one year away from unrestricted free agency unless you sign him to a market-level extension. But after a March spending spree highlighted by the arrival of defensive end Julius Peppers, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has indicated he's tapped his cash budget for this year.