It's rare that you're caught off guard in today's NFL, where every detail, no matter his seemingly insignificant, is reported with the same weight as the Watergate proceedings. Well, this qualifies not only as big news, but it's of the "nope, definitely didn't see that coming" variety.
The Patriots have agreed to the parameters of a trade that would send Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for a draft pick and tight end Tim Wright. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that it's a 2015 fourth-round pick. The Patriots had been seeking a re-structured deal with Mankins, but he rebuffed those overtures. He's making $6.5 million.
"We were looking at all options," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman. "It's something we've been talking about since first week of camp. We feel very fortunate. Logan is a very good player. I'm a first-hand witness to what he means to the locker room."
Licht worked in the Pats' front office from 2009-11, and director of player personnel Jon Robinson was with the Pats from 2002-13.
Mankins, the Patriots' 2005 first-round pick has started at least 15 games in seven of his nine NFL seasons, and he fills an obvious need on a Buccaneers' offensive line that has looked overmatched for much of the preseason. On Monday, the Bucs visited with former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, but he left without signing a contract.
"We're always going to leave options open," Licht said of the possibility of adding Incognito at some point in the future. ... "I wouldn't put an end to that."
Last season, Mankins ranked 18th among all guards, according to Pro Football Focus, though he was much better as a run-blocker than a pass-blocker. He immediately becomes the Bucs' best lineman.
Meanwhile, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a history of getting rid of good players while they still have value to other teams. In return for Mankins, New England receives a draft pick and Wright, who went undrafted in 2013 out of -- wait for it -- Rutgers. Wright started eight games last season and had 54 receptions for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Belichick, who is tight with former Rutgers and Bucs coach Greg Schiano, has stocked his roster with former Rutgers players.