Mankins’ arrival makes Patriots better

The Patriots, who own the NFL’s best record at 6-1, are about to get a little bit better with the arrival of two-time Pro Bowler Logan Mankins.

The Patriots announced Mankins has reported to the team and is expected to sign his $1.54 million free-agent tender on Tuesday.

How soon will Mankins make an impact? The Patriots are expected to receive a roster exemption to be allowed to carry 54 players, although head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio didn’t offer many details as part of a conference call Tuesday. Belichick and Caserio indicated Mankins will be evaluated on a daily basis during the week, and the players who prepare best will play against the Browns.

When he’s up to speed, Mankins presumably falls back into his left guard spot between LT Matt Light and C Dan Koppen, which has been held admirably by Dan Connolly.

While Mankins has been at odds with the Patriots throughout the offseason over failed contract negotiations, at one point demanding a trade, he’s back, and Belichick doesn’t sound too upset about the mid-season addition. In fact, he even said it twice.

“I met with him this morning, it’s good to have him back with us,” Belichick said. “A great player and person for our football team, he’s tough, he’s smart, he’s dependable, you can’t have too many players like that on your football team. We’re glad to have him back.”

Mankins ultimately reported two weeks before the Nov. 16 deadline to gain an accrued season, and will help the Patriot win games. That’s usually the bottom line with Belichick.

– Frank Tadych

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