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.
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.
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