Mankins was the Patriots first round pick in 2005 and has been the mainstay of the offensive line. He captures the second most cap space on the roster and will free up plenty of space for subsequent moves (Darrelle Revis extension?). Mankins is responsible for $10.5 million and $11 million in cap space in 2014 and 2015, respectively. While he hasn't lived up to his reputation over the past few seasons, there was reason to believe he would rebound this upcoming year.
The loss of Mankins leaves Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer as the only two solidified starting positions. All three interior positions are now open. The odds of Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly both making the team just increased, while Josh Kline is the likely starting left guard. Marcus Cannon and Jordan Devey are now both legitimate starting contenders.
The Buccaneers needed an offensive lineman and general manager Jason Licht is a former Patriot staffer. In exchange for the All Pro interior lineman, the Bucs will be sending the Patriots sophomore tight end, and Rutgers alum, Tim Wright and an unspecified draft pick. The pick will likely be conditional, but Wright looks to step on the field as an immediate receiving threat.
Wright is 6'2, 230 lbs with 4.60 speed. He's a converted wide receiver and will join as a bulky slot receiver, after posting 54 receptions for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns as an undrafted rooked last season. Wright really wasn't involved in the Buccaneers offense until Week 4 so a full season projects to roughly 65 receptions for 700 yards. Wright will add another element to the Patriots offense that they've been missing.
The draft pick will go a long distance when determining the value of this trade. If the pick is a second round selection, it should be a fair trade for both parties, as Mankins has three expensive years left on his contract, where he wasn't matching the cost with his play. Wright is likely a diamond-in-the-(not so)rough by Belichick, who can feature Wright in the offense as an Aaron Hernandez-like replacement.
Edit: Per Adam Schefter, the Patriots will receive a 4th round pick in the deal. I’m stunned.
Mankins was held out of practice this morning.
More details to come once available.