Mankins hopes ruling leads to free agency

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Mankins hopes ruling leads to free agency

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Logan Mankins is a case study in why the mantra of NFL owners has been negotiation, not litigation.

If the players take their antitrust case against the NFL through to conclusion (unlikely, but an arrow they have in their quiver), chances are high that anything restricting the free movement of players will be poof gone.

And that means the franchise tag the Patriots applied to Mankins in February will be a thing of the past.

To be clear, the most likely endgame to all this huffing and puffing will be a new CBA thats player-friendly and agreed upon without interruption of games.

Even though there are rogue voices among agents and lawyers that want the draft, franchise tags and anything else restricting movement to disappear the ushering in of a true free-market system cooler heads will prevail on the players side.

But until those heads do prevail, and until the owners stand down somewhat, the players can remain locked, loaded and ready to take their very solid case to its conclusion.

During Matt Lights Lockout Breakfast on Tuesday morning at the Liberty Hotel, Mankins told the gathering, Ive heard theres this thing called free agency. Its been two years since his rookie contract expired and I havent seen it. Maybe one of these days I could actually experience that.

Sources on both sides of the labor fence have told me that the franchise tag will almost certainly be a part of the next CBA. It might have some alterations, but it will be there. The reason? The players arent going to go to the mat to have the tag removed from the CBA since it affects such a small and generally well-compensated portion of their constituency. It will be a concession the players make to extract more from the owners on another front.

Thats why all the speculation and hand-wringing about whether or not Mankins will be a Patriot is in truth wasted effort. Wheres he going to go? Whats he going to do? He plays football for New England or not at all.

Unless the players push through with litigation and any measure that unilaterally binds employees to employers is abolished.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

Report: Patriots, Gronkowski restructure contract for 2017 season

The Patriots and Rob Gronkowski have restructured the tight end’s contract for the coming season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

The reworked deal can bump Gronkowski’s salary for the 2017 season from $5.25 million to $10.75 million, according to Schefter. 

Gronkowski was limited by injury to just eight games last season. He had 25 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns, all of which were career lows. 

The 28-year-old is entering his eighth NFL season since being selected by the Pats in the second round of the 2010 draft. He has played played in at least 15 regular-season games in four of his first seven season, though he’s twice played fewer than 10. 

Brandin Cooks ready to bring back arrow celebration after NFL rule change

Brandin Cooks ready to bring back arrow celebration after NFL rule change

Tuesday’s announcement from Roger Goodell that the NFL is “relaxing” its rules on celebrations is good news for at least one Patriot. 

That would be Brandin Cooks, who began celebrating the rule change on Twitter not long after the league made its announcement. 

Cooks, whom the Patriots acquired from the Saints this offseason in a trade that sent first and third-round picks to New Orleans, lost his favorite celebration last season when it was made clear that miming archery was off-limits. Josh Norman was fined $10,000 last season for such a celebration. 

Following Norman’s fine, Cooks lamented the league’s decision to punish what Cooks had previously done in reference to a Bible verse (Psalms 144:6). 

"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."

Added Cooks: ”I’ve been doing it for three years now, and there was never a complaint about it. Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it's almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it's frustrating. I'll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it."

When Tuesday’s news emerged, Cooks and former Saints teammate Mark Ingram were quick to react.