So remember a few days ago when I said that at this point in the season absolutely nothing that Bill Belichick did would surprise me?
I stand corrected.
The football world has already gotten a head start in reacting to the news that Logan Mankins is now departing for sunny Tampa Bay in exchange for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth round draft pick, and for the most part, the narrative goes something like this:
"What? How the hell could Bill Belichick have traded Logan Mankins? He was a team leader!!!"
It's all understandable; nobody saw this coming. However, the good news about the above sentiment is that it should fit quite nicely alongside all of the below sentiments:
What? How the hell could Bill Belichick have traded Mike Vrabel? He was a team leader!!!
What? How the hell could Bill Belichick have traded Richard Seymour? He was a team leader!!!
What? How the hell could Bill Belichick have cut Lawyer Milloy? He was a team leader!!!
What? How the hell could Bill Belichick start Tom Brady over Drew Bledsoe? He's a team leader!
I'm as surprised as anybody by the move, but let's all calm down. Mankins is probably the toughest man on the planet and someone I'm going to miss rooting for, but he also had been playing on reputation more than skill as of late and was on the hook for a lot of money over the next few years. Mankins is also 32, and to be honest who knows how much longer he had left in the league anyway. The Patriots, in parting ways with a fan favorite, cleared up some cap room, got a promising pass catcher of a tight end (more on Wright a bit later), and got younger along the offensive line. Granted, it's making me think that Dante Scarnecchia picked one hell of a year to retire, but I'd be lying if I said this move has rattled me to the core the way it seems to have some other Pats fans.
I'm sure someone better with numbers than me (looking your way, Rich Hill) will be able to give a more accurate breakdown on how many pressures/sacks we could attribute to Mankins last year, and so I won't even go for it. I'll just say a big thank you to Logan for protecting the most important man in my life, and wish you the best of luck down in Tampa.