Curran: Mankins holds hammer over owners

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Curran: Mankins holds hammer over owners

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
Is Logan Mankins' latest stand just an idle roll of the dice as he walks out of the casino? Or will he go all in on his request to be somehow compensated in the settlement of Brady vs. The NFL ?As one of the 10 plaintiffs in the Brady vs. The NFL case, Mankins has been told he's entitled to something. He, as well as Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, are reportedly asking for either 10 million or removal of their franchise tag and unrestricted free agency. The other plaintiffs - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees included - will also be seeking something in return for settling the suit. What exactly they're requesting hasn't yet been determined. (UPDATE: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Mankins has not yet requested a financial settlement "so far.")Mankins' situation is different from the rest. He's one of the two best guards in the NFL and has been paid, frankly, like a scrub. He feels he's been betrayed by Patriots ownership. Could Mankins hold up a settlement, ratification of the new CBA, the chance to return his 1,800 or so union brethren to work and restore jobs and pay for the workaday folks affected by this lockout just so he can get a pound of flesh back from the Krafts? We'll find out in the next 24 hours. Quick rehash of Mankins' position. By the end of the 2009 season, he was enraged that the Patriots handed out contract extensions to other players after having told him they weren't doing extensions because of the looming lockout. When he missed out on unrestricted free agency because of the pre-lockout rule restricting players with five or fewer accrued seasons from hitting the market, he grew more angry. He refused to sign his restricted free agent tender, raged against the Krafts for betraying him and vowed never to play in Foxboro again. The Patriots slashed his tender offer from 3.16 million to 1.54. He still didn't report and ultimately played nine games for the Patriots making about 900,000. The Patriots have franchised Mankins for the 2011 season. He'll make over 10 million but still hasn't signed his franchise tender offer. This is his play to get out of having to do so. Looking at it from his side, he's hitting ownership in general, and the Krafts in particular, where it hurts. He's keeping them from making money by holding up business. And, after the Krafts held the hammer and used it on him for the past two years, Mankins has the hammer now. Until the Brady case is satisfied and rolled into the so-called "global settlement" between players and owners, nobody can vote on ratification of the deal. The players aimed to get that vote done Tuesday or Wednesday. And until the players vote, it can't go to the owners for ratification on Thursday. From ground level with lawyers whispering in his ear that now's the time to make the Krafts pay and get back the money he was jobbed out of, it must seem very attractive to Mankins. He can claim it's more about retribution than money and -- given he's turned his back on millions so far because he hasn't liked the offers -- I'd tend to believe him. But Mankins is also a tremendous teammate. He returned to the team last November earlier than he had to and was fully embraced. Those players and the rest of the league are in limbo currently and he's part of the reason why. Can he stand that? Part of me believes the owners should justgivethe guy his 10 million and move on. You're already on the plus side, it's not coming out of the Krafts' pockets and Mankins is still franchised. But the fact that Mankins wasn't screwed out of a new contract simply by the Krafts but by the rules of the last CBA that Mankins' union brethren agreed to makes me think he should swallow it. But, in the end, the Krafts used the hammer on Mankins when they had it. Now that it's changed hands, it will be fascinating to see how Mankins uses it. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

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During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.