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Agent: Franchised Patriots guard Mankins weighing options

Frank Bauer, the agent for New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins, made the rounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Friday and made it clear he and Mankins are not happy with the Patriots' use of the franchise tag on his client.

Mankins has yet to sign the franchise tender, and Bauer indicated the guard is still weighing his options, telling the *Boston Herald* "We're working on it. We're thinking about it."

Added Bauer: "Everything with New England is built on leverage and using the system. Everything is leverage."

Bauer had some strong words for the Patriots, who offered Mankins a $3.26 million unrestricted free-agent tender prior to last season when the two sides couldn't agree on a long-term deal. Mankins held out for the first eight weeks of the season, but played well enough in the season's final nine games to earn a Pro Bowl nod.

Now Mankins, who is set to earn close to $10 million in 2011 under the franchise tag, is again likely to miss out on the chance to test the open market. While teams continue to designate franchise players -- Mankins is currently one of 14 such players -- the NFL Players Association is disputing teams' ability to apply franchise and transition tags, since such contracts fall under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, set to expire at the end of the day on March 3.

"This is one of the greatest guards they've had in the history of the place ... John Hannah was the other one," Bauer said. "I think it's a travesty what they've done to the kid. There's a lot of people in the NFL going, 'How do you treat one of your great players this way?'"

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