Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Cut Mike Kafka, Major Wright, Others

6:05pm: The Buccaneers have officially announced their roster moves (via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com), revealing their final cut:

Instead of releasing Ronald Talley and Major Wright, the team placed the duo on injured reserve.

5:09pm: The Buccaneers have yet to officially announce their full list of cuts to get down to 53 players, so for now we’ll have to rely on various reports to determine which players are no longer on the rest. After yesterday’s series of moves, seven more cuts have been reported so far today, meaning the team has to make just one more move to get from 54 to 53 players. Here’s the list so far:

NFC Notes: Mankins, Eagles, 49ers, Bears

At his introductory press conference, new Buccaneers guard Logan Mankins admitted that he has a lot of work to do (via Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald). “It’s going to be tough, we have a week before the first game and I’m going to take it in stride. I’ve got all weekend to try and get down some of the mental part of it and then all next week at practice. I’m sure the guys are going to help me as much as possible and I’m going to try my best to be up to speed with those guys, I don’t know if it will happen, but I’m shooting for it,” said the veteran. More from around the NFL:

  • Having recently been cut by the Bills, quarterback Thad Lewis had an audition for the Eagles, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • Blaine Gabbert looked shaky in the 49ers‘ preseason finale while Josh Johnson has looked good over the last few weeks, which could prompt the club to carry three quarterbacks, writes Cam Inman of the Mercury News. Gabbert, who has a $2MM guaranteed salary, won’t be going anywhere, but SF might want to have Johnson in place as a failsafe.
  • 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh sounds intent on keeping quarterback Johnson in addition to Gabbert, writes Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. However, he won’t commit to putting Johnson ahead of Gabbert on the depth chart, despite the former first-round pick’s struggles.
  • After giving himself a “B+” grade for his Thursday night performance, Michael Sam believes that he’ll be on an NFL roster somewhere, even if it’s not with the Rams, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I’m very confident,” Sam said. “I’m going to sleep really well tonight and I’m very confident I’m going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL.”
  • Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times believes that Matthew Mulligan will have a spot on the Bears‘ roster as the tight end behind Martellus Bennett and Dante Rosario thanks to his blocking ability. The injury to Zach Miller opened the door for Mulligan, who is a solid blocker.
  • The Bears have done their homework on long snappers and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter) hears that they worked out four long snappers last week. Currently, Brandon Hartson has the job in Chicago.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed that he has met face-to-face with Dez Bryant, something he doesn’t do with every player who is seeking a new deal, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “We have had good visits,” Jones said. “It’s a little different to be talking directly, for me to be talking directly with the player. I know of two that I’ve spent a lot of time directly talking with in some pretty sensitive areas when you’re talking about money. We all understand what that means. One of them Michael Irvin. He asked me to induct him into the Hall of Fame later and Emmitt Smith, he asked me to induct him into the Hall of Fame later. Troy [Aikman] always had Leigh Steinberg there, but we kind of talked straight in there together.”

Bucs Release Barth, English, Others

2:02pm: Connor Barth is the latest Buccaneer to be cut, according to Stroud (via Twitter). Barth had been owed a $2MM base salary, along with up to $1.15MM in per-game roster bonuses for the coming season, so it appears the Bucs will opt for a less expensive option at the position. For now, Patrick Murray is the only kicker left on the roster.

12:53pm: Tackle/guard Jamon Meredith will also be let go, tweets Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

12:24pm: Linebacker Nate Askew, cornerbacks Marc Anthony and Kip Edwards, defensive back Anthony Gaitor, defensive end Larry English, offensive tackle Edawn Coughman, and offensive linemen Jeremiah Warren and Andrew Miller have also been cut, according to Auman (Twitter links).

9:49am: The Buccaneers have released four players in advance of tomorrow’s deadline, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). Tampa Bay will bid farewell to linebacker Ka’Lial Glaud, fullback Lonnie Pryor, rookie cornerback Keith Lewis, and defensive end T.J. Fatinikun on their way to trimming to a 53-man roster.

Lewis, a cornerback out of Virginia-Lynchburg, intercepted a pass from Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy in last night’s preseason finale, but it apparently wasn’t enough to convince Bucs coaches to keep him on the roster. Glaud, who has a tie to former coach Greg Schiano thanks to his time at Rutgers, signed with the Bucs as a UDFA in May 2013. Pryor, a local Florida State product, hooked on with Tampa Bay last season after he was let go by the Jaguars. Fatinikun hooked on with the Buccaneers earlier this month after spending time in the Arena Football League last season.

Extra Points: Redskins, Titans, Mankins

In an interview with CSN Washington, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said that he’s looking into a new home for his team. “Whether it’s Washington, D.C., whether it’s another stadium in Maryland, whether it’s a stadium in Virginia, we’ve started the process,” Snyder said. The new stadium, he says, could be built with RFK Stadium’s design in mind. Before the opening of FedEx Field in 1997, the Skins played at RFK, which opened in 1961. Here’s more from around the NFL..

  • Former Saints kicker Garrett Hartley worked out for the Titans today, tweets Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. The Titans are also reportedly looking at ex-Cardinals kicker Jay Feely as well as Rian Lindell. Maikon Bonani currently sits at the top of the team’s depth chart, but he has yet to attempt a regular-season NFL kick. Despite working out three veteran kickers today, Wyatt (on Twitter) still believes the Titans would rather keep Bonani or Travis Coons.
  • The Bucs initially called the Patriots with an eye on acquiring a backup guard, tweets Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The Pats followed up by expressing their interest in tight end Tim Wright and soon after, the two sides started discussing Logan Mankins. While Mankins is obviously the bigger name of the two, Wright is expected by some to play a key role in the Pats’ offense this season.
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is disappointed that his team has been penalized for excessive physical contact in a June minicamp, writes The Associated Press. “We don’t want to do things wrong,” Carroll said following practice Wednesday. “We want to do things right. I’d like to show exactly how to do it. When you’re competing like we do, we’re trying to do things the best you can possibly do it. Unfortunately, this incident makes it look otherwise.”

Minor Moves: Wednesday

A day after 2014′s deadline for rosters to be reduced from 90 players to 75, the transactions wire isn’t nearly as busy today, but things will undoubtedly pick up soon, with the deadline for 53-man rosters just three days away. In the meantime, here are a few of Wednesday’s minor moves from around the league:

  • Running back Demitrius Bronson was one of the Seahawks‘ roster casualties earlier this week, but with Christine Michael nursing a hamstring injury, Seattle has re-signed Bronson for the team’s final preseason game this week, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Center Greg Van Roten has been cut to clear space on the roster.
  • The Cowboys claimed defensive back Jemea Thomas off waivers from the Patriots today, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Georgia Tech product was a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. As Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets, Dallas waived wideout Tim Benford to open up a roster spot.
  • Cornerback Danny Gorrer has been released off the Buccaneers‘ injured reserve list with a settlement, says Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).

Extra Points: Sam, Boone, Burleson

Vikings star Adrian Peterson is approaching 30 but the running back says he’s far from done, writes Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune. “I work with the mind-set of being the best ever,” he said. “That, and my approach, set me apart. I have it in my mind that I’m doing things that nobody else is doing. You’re not just saying you’re going to be the best ever, you’re putting in the work to accomplish that.” More from around the NFL..

  • Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter) believes that Michael Sam will wind up making the Rams‘ roster. Garafolo adds that Sam can clinch his spot with a strong performance on Thursday night.
  • Before acquiring Logan Mankins from the Patriots, the Bucs inquired on 49ers guard Alex Boone, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Meanwhile, the 49ers and Boone’s representatives still have not spoken or exchanged proposals since the opening of training camp, according to a source. Multiple teams are calling on Boone but San Francisco is asking for a first- or second-round pick, a price that is probably too high for a guard, even one as talented as Boone.
  • Browns wide receiver Nate Burleson knows that his resume alone won’t keep him safe from roster cuts, write George M. Thomas and Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal. “This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league,” he said. “So I can watch as many YouTube highlights of myself, but what I did today and what I do tomorrow is going to have a more profound effect than my resume.”

AFC East Notes: Pats, Mankins, Wright, Hill

Two sources tell Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter) that the Patriots asked guard Logan Mankins to take a pay cut before today’s trade sending him to the Buccaneers. Mankins gave the club the same answer as when they asked him right after last season’s Pro Bowl: No. Here’s more from the AFC East..

  • The Patriots were interested in trading for tight end Tim Wright for two weeks now, a league source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The Pats got their man earlier today in a deal that sent Mankins to Tampa Bay.
  • Former second round pick Stephen Hill has been having trouble dropping the ball and Jets coach Rex Ryan isn’t giving him much of an endorsement, writes Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post. “He’s had some strong moments, but there are others where we wish maybe he had hung on to a ball or so,” Ryan said. “But he’s had a pretty good training camp. I don’t want to say it’s been outstanding, but it’s been pretty good. “He’s blocked consistently, but he just hasn’t had a lot of shots at catching the ball. We’re still evaluating that receiving group, and we’ll see how it shakes out.”
  • Free agent addition Earl Mitchell is already looking like a gem for the Dolphins, writes Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. The defensive lineman signed a four-year deal with Miami early in free agency. Mitchell is smaller than the departed Paul Soliai, but he’s shown that he can be rather effective.

Bucs Claim Two Players, Cut Three

While they’ll be overshadowed by the team’s big move of the day – the acquisition of All-Pro guard Logan Mankins – the Buccaneers have also made several more roster moves, reducing their roster to 75 players in advance of today’s cutdown deadline. Via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter links), here are the latest transactions completed by Tampa Bay:

Claimed off waivers:

Waived:

Waived-injured:

  • Matt Patchan, OT

Placed on injured reserve:

Bucs Acquire Logan Mankins From Pats

1:03pm: The Pats will receive Tampa Bay’s fourth-round pick for 2015 in the deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Meanwhile, the Bucs have officially confirmed the trade in a press release.

12:38pm: The Buccaneers and Patriots have reached an agreement on the parameters of a trade that will send Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay, reports Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Twitter). In exchange for Mankins, the Pats will receive a future draft pick and tight end Tim Wright, says Glazer.Logan Mankins

After recently parting ways with another former Pro Bowler, Carl Nicks, the Buccaneers had been on the lookout for an upgrade at guard, where Oniel Cousins and Patrick Omameh were viewed as the team’s probable starters. Inserting Mankins into the starting lineup will immediately upgrade a Buccaneers line that also added Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith in free agency this offseason. The move also likely means that the Bucs will no longer be in play for other notable free agents and trade candidates on the market, such as Richie Incognito and Alex Boone.

Additionally, although Wright was a pleasant surprise a year ago for Tampa Bay, the team fortified the tight end spot significantly this offseason, first signing Brandon Myers as a free agent, then selecting Austin Seferian-Jenkins with the 38th overall pick in the draft. So the team still has plenty of depth at the position.

While the move makes sense from the Bucs’ perspective, it’s somewhat surprising that New England would give up Mankins – who has earned spots in five straight Pro Bowls and six overall – less than two weeks before the regular season gets underway. Still, Bill Belichick and the Pats have shown in the past that they’re not afraid to move on from veteran players in the right deal, and at the right time.

We’ll have to wait and see what sort of pick New England lands in the trade, but in Wright, the Pats will add a talented young tight end who hauled in 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season in 2013. With Rob Gronkowski‘s health once again not a certainty, it makes sense that the Pats would be interested in adding another promising pass-catcher at tight end.

With the 32-year-old Mankins no longer in the mix, the Pats figure to turn to a younger player like Marcus Cannon or Josh Kline as their starter at left guard. It’s also possible that the team will peruse the free agent market or the waiver wire for other options.

From a cap perspective, the Bucs will absorb Mankins’ $6.25MM base salary into their available space, while the Pats will carry $4MM in dead money in 2014 and $4MM in 2015, since the guard still had plenty of prorated bonus money left on his contract. As an undrafted free agent, Wright is on a minimum-salary deal with prorated bonus figures of about $3.3K per year, so his contract will hardly have an effect on either team’s books.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: HGH, Incognito, Jammer, Welker

The NFL and the NFLPA have yet to come to an agreement on how to institute HGH testing for the league’s players, but according to a new survey conducted by ESPN, most players would be willing to sign off on HGH testing in exchange for guaranteed contracts.

As Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com details, 82 current players were asked which concession they’d make if it meant earning guaranteed contracts, like those in Major League Baseball. 63% of the respondents said they’d submit to HGH testing, while the other options – an 18-games schedule (17%), free agency after five years instead of four (14%), and more offseason practices (6%) – garnered less support.

While the results of the survey are interesting, they may ultimately be moot, as the NFL is unlikely to agree to fully guaranteed contracts for any reason. Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • If the Buccaneers decide not to sign free agent guard Richie Incognito, there are a couple teams that would be willing to do so, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). As Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune tweets, Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht said the team’s meeting with Incognito went well and that he remains an option, but no move is imminent.
  • Veteran free agent Quentin Jammer doesn’t intend to retire this year, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN, who tweets that the longtime Chargers cornerback is hoping to play for at least another season.
  • Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link) hears that retirement isn’t currently an option being considered by Wes Welker, and that the Broncos receiver was feeling better yesterday after sustaining a concussion in the team’s most recent preseason contest.
  • A league source tells Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link) that the Chiefs are mulling the possibility of keeping two kickers on their roster. While carrying a second kicker may not be the best use of a regular season roster spot, Kansas City has two solid options in Ryan Succop and Cairo Santos, so the team may not want to lose one for nothing.