Mankins likely off the market

Patriots guard Logan Mankins, the potential prize of the free agent class when it comes to offensive linemen, may never hit the open market. The Patriots designated Mankins as their franchise player Monday, becoming the first team to use the tag.

Mankins might have made an enticing free agent target for the Eagles, who need help on the offensive line, though many other teams would certainly also bid on the Pro Bowler.

Of course, there are still questions about whether the tag will remain valid, given the NFL's expiring collective bargaining agreement. The players union argues that the tag will be nullified when the current CBA expires, though it seems likely that some version of the designation will remain in the new labor deal.

The Eagles have yet to use the tag, though they are widely expected to apply it to quarterback Michael Vick. They will likely do so this week, though teams have until Feb. 24 to use the designation. It's unclear if the tag will stick, given the NFL's labor dispute, but it will at least put the team in position to retain his rights once a new collective bargaining agreement is put in place.

Off the field, Vick's interview with Oprah Winfrey airs Thursday. The Inquirer's Michael Klein has more details on the quarterback's turn on Oprah's famous couch.

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