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

Giardi: Two more picks for Jimmy G., but . . .

Giardi: Two more picks for Jimmy G., but . . .

FOXBORO -- The tweets stacked up on your timeline right around 12:30 this afternoon. Jimmy Garoppolo threw two interceptions -- again.

What the 140 characters didn’t tell you was how they happened, or why.

The first was a wounded duck that had very little chance of success, save for the fact that Justin Coleman completely impeded Chris Hogan’s ability to compete for the ball (read: defensive pass interference). Safety Jordan Richards poached the ball as it fluttered to earth and the media tent started chirping.

The second came two throws later. Garoppolo zipped a ball to the back hip/shoulder of Devin Lucien in the end zone. Lucien initially had it, but a diving Eric Rowe ripped it from his hands for Rowe’s second pick of Garoppolo in two days.

“Whenever you throw an interception, whether it’s your testing someone out and giving a guy a chance, you never want to throw an int in the first place,” said Garoppolo after practice today.

Those INTs came on the heels of two interceptions yesterday. The first -- snagged by Richards -- was almost certainly a ball Garoppolo would never have thrown in a real game. That's a point that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have hammered over and over in the last 17 years, that these day in late July and August, are a time for testing both yourself and your teammates.

“You always try to do the right thing in practice, but practice is also that time, especially in training camp,” noted Garoppolo, “ to try to give an opportunity to who you maybe wouldn’t in the regular season. It’s a time to gain trust in your teammates and give a guy an opportunity.”

Lucien had that opportunity today and had it wrestled away from him. Note taken and file saved. Maybe next time, Garoppolo -- or Brady, or Jacoby Brissett -- go a different direction. Or they hammer the point home.

Ealy absence not injury-related: 'You have to ask Coach Bill'

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Ealy absence not injury-related: 'You have to ask Coach Bill'

FOXBORO -- Kony Ealy readily admitted that his absence from Thursday's practice was not injury-related. He did not, however, say what it was related to. 

"You have to ask Coach Bill," Ealy said. "Me and him had something going or whatever."

Ealy appeared to participate regularly during Friday's shells-and-shorts session. It was the first time he was spotted by reporters on the field with his teammates since he walked off the field during a June 8 workout behind Gillette Stadium.

When asked if his latest absence was related to his absence from portions of spring camps, Ealy said he couldn't remember what held him out in the spring. He explained that he was OK with missing Thursday's work because, well, what else was he going to say?

"Of course," Ealy said. "Am I going to go against what Coach Belichick says? No. At the end of the day, my job is to come here and do everything I need to do for the team and do the right things on and off the field."

Though Ealy indicated that he felt the communication along the defensive line was coming along well, he'll have plenty of work to do as he embarks on his first training camp in New England.

"Even if I was out yesterday, I was out getting individual reps," he said. "In my mind, I'm just picturing myself in those positions, those spots, just going over the call, studying, reviewing, so you never stop working."