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INDIANAPOLIS -- One day after firing verbal bombs at the New England Patriots, Frank Bauer, the agent for Logan Mankins, focused more on bottom-line business while explaining some of the factors he is weighing with Mankins' franchise tender.
Three NFL players -- Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil, New York Jets linebacker David Harris and Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley -- have signed their franchise tenders. Mankins remains undecided.
In one respect, Mankins could guarantee himself a one-year salary of about $10 million by signing the tender, which is attractive given the NFL's labor uncertainty. But by signing the tender, Mankins would forgo the possibility to fight the tag in the event of a lockout, which could get him what he desires: a shot at unrestricted free-agency and more long-term security.
"There are a lot of variables and a lot of issues out there," Bauer said from the NFL Combine, where he made headlines in New England Thursday by calling the Patriots' handling of Mankins a "travesty."
"At some point in time, maybe there aren't [franchise] tags anymore, in a new [collective bargaining agreement]. That's really a long stretch, but the union is saying there are no tags, but the NFL is still using them. So maybe there becomes a fight over this."
Bauer, who had talks with the Patriots earlier this year, wants more time to analyze what is best for Mankins, a seven-year veteran.
"We're looking at our options and considering everything right now," he said. "You never know, because so many things are up in the air right now with the lockout and everything else. It comes down to the uncertainty of the cap and whether there is a new CBA."
Asked if he felt his remarks Thursday could make it harder to reach an extension with the Patriots, Bauer didn't think they would. "We go our path. They'll go their path," he said.At this time, those paths aren't leading to the same place.
"You would hope we could come together, but it doesn't seem that way," he said. "We haven't been able to agree in our last talks, so they naturally exercised their right to the franchise tag, which they said they would never do, because they said a guard was never worth it."
When asked for their reaction to the latest comments from Bauer, the Patriots elected not to comment.
Speaking at the Super Bowl earlier this month, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his hope was that the team and Mankins come to terms on a long-term deal to keep him in New England, a stance he reiterated after the team placed the franchise tag on him a short time later.
Bauer didn't rule out the possibility of an extension, even if he disagrees with the Patriots' approach.
"I've always had great respect for [Robert] Kraft and Bill Belichick, but it's a situation where this is one of the better players who has gone through there and it's tough the way it's been handled," he said. "I understand their points. We just have differences of opinion of what the player is worth. I think the way the whole thing came down has been unrealistic."
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.