The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded tight end Tim Wright and a draft pick for offensive lineman Logan Mankins on Aug. 26.
"There are options...and then there are options.
"Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and Head Coach Lovie Smith have been saying since the spring that they would explore every possibility to address their team's needs, of which offensive guard was clearly the most pressing. Who knew, however, that a five-team Associated Press All-Pro coming off his sixth Pro Bowl appearance would be one of those options.
"That's Logan Mankins, the long-time New England Patriots star who became a Buccaneer on Tuesday when the two teams swung a remarkable and wholly unexpected trade. To acquire Mankins, the Buccaners sent second-year tight end Tim Wright and an undisclosed draft pick to New England. Outside reports indicate that the pick is a fourth-rounder in the 2015 draft, but Licht said the Buccaneers and Patriots agreed not to confirm that information.
"Mankins, a first-round draft pick by New England in 2005, was selected for the Pro Bowl following the 2007 and 2009-13 seasons. He earned first-team All-Pro recognition in 2007, repeated that honor in 2010 and has been a second-team choice in each of the last three years. His arrival is an incredible boon to Buccaneer offensive lineman that has been looking for answers at both guard spots since moving on from David Joseph and Carl Nicks.
"'We feel very fortunate just to have Logan,' said Licht, who worked alongside Mankins from 2009-11 as the Patriots' director of pro personnel. 'He's a very good player. (I'm) a first-hand witness of what he means to the locker room as well. His play on the field...that speaks for itself for Lovie (Smith) and our coaches, but I've known him over the years. Any time you have five consecutive Pro Bowls, All-Pro player -- I mean (that's) a lot of accolades -- but he's a great person. He's going to be great for that room, he's going to be great for this locker room.'
"Mankins turned 32 in March but the Buccaneers believe they have added a player who remains one of the best guards in the NFL.
"'To me, he looked the same as he did when I was there in 2009, '10, '11, said Licht. 'He's a good athlete, he's very strong, he's very smart, he's very tough. He's a tenacious player, a quiet type of toughness. As a defensive coach or defensivep player, you just don't like playing against him. He brings that to the field and he brings exceptional leadership off the field.'"
Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith told The Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman on Aug. 26 that Mankins is "exactly what we need." The Buccaneers were making a move for former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito prior to acquiring Mankins:
"One day after courting former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, the Bucs went in a different direction, making an even larger move to trade for Logan Mankins, a six-time Pro Bowl guard with the Patriots.
"'He has a history of a certain type of play in this league,' coach Lovie Smith said. 'Most people say Logan Mankins -- tough football player, real man, everybody loves him, great guy in your locker room...Exactly what we need on our football team and of course in the offensive line room.'
"To land Mankins, 32, who has been to the Pro Bowl five years in a row, the Bucs gave up second-year tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round pick.
"Mankins becomes the second-oldest Bucs player behind only quarterback Josh McCown, and he'll be the team's highest-paid offensive lineman, due to make $6.25 million this season and potentially $20 million over the three years left on his contract...
"...Mankins, who will not play in Thursday's preseason finale, becomes the fourth new starter on the offensive line, likely at left guard. His acquisition likely puts the urgency to sign Incognito on the back burner -- Licht and Smith insisted the door was still open, but asked about Mankins' age, Licht said, 'He's 32. Richie was 31.'
"Wright caught 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns last year as an undrafted rookie from Rutgers. He had fallen on the depth chart, however, as the Bucs added rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins and free agent signee Brandon Myers, and veteran Luke Stocker has returned healthy after missing last season with injury.
"'It tells you we feel very good about the three tight ends we have on our roster,' Licht said. 'It speaks about that. We think Tim is a very good player. Came in, caught 54 balls, that's a pretty remarkable feat. We feel the return we got on the investment obviously worked in our favor. They probably feel they got a pretty good deal, too.'
"Mankins gave up 10 sacks individually last season, after allowing nine total in 34 games from 2010-12, according to MassLive.com."