The Buccaneers have been as busy as ever this week as the first roster cut deadline quickly approaches. In addition to the players released Sunday and Monday and visit from controversial OL Richie Incognito, the Buccaneers have been negotiating a trade with the New England Patriots.
The trade cost the Buccaneers TE Tim Wright (#81) and a fourth round draft pick in 2015. In exchange, the Buccaneers acquired 9-year veteran OL Logan Mankins (#70) to beef up its underwhelming offensive line. Mankins’ cap hit is $6.25 million this year, which is the same as the savings reaped by releasing Davin Joseph. The Buccaneers are also on the hook for the remainder of Mankins’ $14 million contract (2015: $7 million; 2016: $7 million).
Mankins was drafted by the Patriots in 2005 and has been a starter ever since. He has been to the Pro Bowl six times and won the AFC Championship with the Patriots twice.
“We have a responsibility to our team and of course our fans to put the best possible football team on the field that we can,” said Head Coach Lovie Smith in his press conference after the trade was finalized. “By adding Pro Bowler Logan Mankins to the mix, we feel like we’re definitely a better football team.”
Mankins was brought in to be a starter, according to Smith, but will sit out during this Thursday’s preseason game against the Redskins. But that does not mean Mankins will be spending his first days in Tampa in leisure.
“We’re going to start immediately trying to catch Logan up. We didn’t bring him here to be a backup and sit on the bench and all that stuff. So it’s about catching him up to date as soon as we possibly can,” Smith said. “Again, as soon as we get him in, we’ll start.”
As for the what the Buccaneers gave up to get Mankins, Wright was a player that could be spared, according to General Manager Jason Licht.
“It tells you that we feel very good about the three tight ends that we have on the roster right now,” LIcht said. “Actually, we like the fourth tight end on our roster right now, too. I guess it speaks about that. We think that Tim is a very good football player. It’s hard – [as] a rookie came in and caught 54 balls. That’s a pretty remarkable feat. We feel like that the return we got on the investment obviously worked in our favor. They probably feel like that they got a pretty good deal, too. So I think it worked out on both ends.”
The signing of Mankins comes on the heels of Incognito’s visit to Tampa and leaves Incognito’s status with the Buccaneers rather ambiguous.
“It stands as an option,” Licht said. “We’ll always continue – my staff, Lovie’s staff, on the scouting side – to entertain all options that are out there, whether it’s a trade or whether it’s a player on the street.”