It’s no secret the Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t had the best luck when it comes to their offensive line. There was the saga with now seemingly retired center Carl Nicks, while the Bucs were already hurting in the depth department on the o-line.
Now they’re not. The team made a borderline blockbuster deal on Tuesday afternoon, as they swung a trade for New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins. Mankins is 32 and naturally slowly regressing, but still graded out quite well in 2013 and thanks to a solid shelf life for NFL offensive guards, could still be somewhat of a long-term fix, as well.
New England clearly wasn’t going to lock Mankins up again on another huge deal, while his age and their confidence in the rest of their offensive line may have contributed to the move. That, and they also got athletic tight end Tim Wright in return, as well as unknown draft pick compensation.
Mankins going to Tampa Bay is obviously huge news for the Bucs, as their formerly ravaged o-line now gets some serious strength in the middle. The addition of Mankins improves their starting five, helps their depth and significantly boosts their otherwise spotty run-blocking.
New England, however, is sneaky here as they got a potentially lethal weapon in Wright. The Patriots lost the ability to exploit matchups in 2013, as Aaron Hernandez was accused of murder and Rob Gronkowski dealt with a number of ailments. Landing Wright gives them a solid second tight end behind Gronkowski, while Wright’s skill-set is similar to Hernandez’s and could allow him to slide into New England’s coveted “move” tight end role.
A former wide receiver at Rutgers, Wright is a handful in the slot thanks to a great combination of size and athleticism, and could be just what the doctor ordered for the Patriots offense. No one can know for sure just yet if Wright will develop into a key player for the Patriots, but he looked quite solid as a rookie playing a new position in 2013 and obviously has a good amount of upside. Arguably a bigger trade than many will suggest, this is a terrific move from both parties that should help both sides address a clear weakness in their respective offenses.