Shocking Patriots Nation, the Patriots sent six-time pro bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth round draft pick. Behind Hall of Famer John Hannah, Mankins is considered to be the second best offensive guard in team history.
Following the trade, Patriots coach Bill Belichick tried to justify the move. “Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made - and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make - but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”
Mankins and Hannah are the only Patriots guards to earn Pro Bowl bids since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger.
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player...”-- Bill Belichick
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player,” said Belichick. “It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. .
Mankins was drafted by New England in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft. He started all 130 regular-season games and all 17 postseason games in which he has appeared in since joining the Patriots in 2005. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and selected Associated Press All-Pro: First Team in 2010. He was selected to the Associated Press All-Pro: Second Team in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The Patriots offense has finished in the top 10 in eight of his nine seasons: 2005 (7), 2007 (1), 2008 (5), 2009 (3), 2010 (8), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (7). In 2008, Mankins started every game at left guard as part of an offensive line that was a part of the best rushing season for the Patriots in more than 20 years in terms of rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and average yards per carry.
Mankins was one of the leaders on the Patriots. He was elected captain by his teammates three times (2011, 2012 & 2013).
In return, the Patriots get 24-year-old Wright, a 6-foot-4,220 pound second-year player who caught 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns with Tampa Bay. The move fills an obvious need at tight end that has been decimated by injuries to key players (Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui).
The move also frees up money on the salary cap for New England. Mankins had the third highest salary on the Patriots and is the highest paid guard in the league, with a cap hit of $10.5 million and a base salary of $6.25 million. Wright enters the second year of his rookie deal with a salary of $498,333. The trade opens $5.8 million in cap space.
Kevin Saleeba is the senior editor and columnist for Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinSaleeba or like him on Facebook.