With the news from Monday night that Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins will be signing his restricted free agent tender and reporting to the Patriots on Tuesday, there are two immediate questions that must be answered: should the team welcome him back, and what kind of role will he have? Pats Pulpit has the answers to both.
To answer the first question: Absolutely. The fact that Mankins is signing the tender three weeks early tells me that he actually wants to come in a play football. This has to be good news from the Patriots' standpoint. Assuming that Patriots management is on board with Mankins coming back (and I'm not sure what say they have in it, considering that they didn't rescind the tender), having Mankins can only be a positive thing for the Patriots.
The question then becomes, what role will Mankins be playing? The thing is, in Mankins' absence, guard Dan Connolly has looked pretty solid. There's no question that Mankins is more talented than Connolly, but the offensive line has really developed a rhythm and chemistry that could be disrupted should Mankins return to the starting line-up. In addition, starting Mankins might not sit favorably with part of the locker room.