In one of the most surprising developments of the summer, the New England Patriots traded Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In return for the six-time Pro Bowler, the Patriots received a virtually unknown tight end in Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. From a personnel standpoint, this appears to be a very puzzling, and frankly quite frustrating move by the Pats.
However, let’s try to shift our focus and see exactly what the Patriots’ brain trust might have been thinking. Maybe, if Bill Belichick knows what he’s doing, some good will come of this shocking decision.
After losing Mankins’ hefty contract, the Patriots are saving nearly $6 million against the cap this season, and in the ballpark of $7 million going into next year. It’s possible that the trading of Mankins is a sign that the Patriots want to allocate more cap room towards retaining Darrelle Revis. If the Pats are able to hang on to a top-three cornerback because of this move, Belichick will look pretty smart.
While most fans have never heard of Wright, it’s worth noting that the second-year pro had a solid rookie season in 2013, managing to catch 54 passes and reaching the end zone five times with a shaky quarterback situation. At 6-foot-4, Wright gives Tom Brady a big target, and is definitely and upgrade over Michael Hoomanawanui no matter how you slice it.
Lastly, that fourth-round pick could prove to be useful. The Patriots have found talent in the draft’s middlemost round over the past decade, taking players such as Asante Samuel, Stephen Gostkowski, and the troubled Aaron Hernandez. This year, they nabbed James White at 130th overall, and he is expected to have a role in the ground game right away. With the Buccaneers not expected to do very well this season, it’s likely that this pick will come at the beginning of the fourth round.
While the loss of the third-longest tenured Patriot is disheartening, there are several positives to be taken away from the move. Of course, we would all still rather have the trusty veteran Mankins anchoring the Patriots’ offensive line, but it’s time to move on and embrace the favorable consequences of this trade.