Bucs left guard Logan Mankins is calling it a career, hanging up his cleats after 11 NFL seasons, according to multiple reports.
If you know anything about Logan Mankins, the man, you know it makes perfect sense that he'd quietly bow out of a fanastic decade-plus NFL career under the mile-high shadow of Peyton Manning's impending retirement announcement. A first-round pick out of Fresno State in 2005, the quiet leader spent nine seasons in New England before playing in Tampa Bay or the last two years, earning seven Pro Bowl berths and being named an All-Pro six times.
“It is always difficult losing a player of Logan’s caliber both on the field and in the locker room,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “He is one of the toughest, most intelligent and skilled players at his position that I have seen in my years around this game. Logan distinguished himself as the ultimate professional over his 11-year career and he was an unquestioned leader for us over the past two seasons. His leadership, work ethic and selflessness played a key role in the development of our younger players and he set the standard which we use to evaluate all of our offensive linemen.”
A captain and well-respected veteran, Mankins' absence moving forward will no doubt have an impact on the Bucs. But don't expect the team to rush out and spend big money on a free-agent or an early draft pick to replace him. Tampa Bay is very high on Kevin Pamphile, a former fifth-round pick out of Purdue who has shown plenty of promise in limited action over his first two NFL seasons. The Bucs also still have an experienced veteran in Evan Smith, who can play guard or center.
While the Bucs will be losing a valuable veteran presence on the field and in the locker room, the move will save the team an additional $7 million in cap space for the 2016 season. With big needs to fill on defense and the dilemma of whether or not to break the bank to retain running back Doug Martin, the added spending money could certainly come in handy this offseason.
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