Deep breath. Step away from whatever ledge you're near. Bill Belichick has blind sided us with yet another heart breaking transaction and the season starts in a couple weeks.
Would the Patriots football season start any other way?
There were some minor moves that happened today. The Patriots released defensive lineman Ben Bass, whom they acquired from the Cowboys in exchange for cornerback Justin Green, after seeing just one snap of active play. Wide receivers Wilson Van Hooser and Derrick Johnson were cut loose, but we knew they were just camp bodies from the start (and Josh Boyce lives to fight another day). Linebacker Deontae Skinner was cut after a strong preseason, a casualty of the vicious numbers game.
Defensive backs Travis Hawkins and sixth round pick Jemea Thomas were released, too. Thomas was a long shot due to missing plenty of time during camp and was never able to catch up. Hawkins was exposed when the games started.
Running back Tyler Gaffney, stolen from the Panthers, and linebacker Cameron Gordon, offered the most guaranteed money of all the team's undrafted free agents, were placed on the injured reserve, keeping them around for one more season.
Some of the major fallout? The interior line battle and running back competition continues. The team's view of how they rank their prospects is more transparent- those still on the team have the inside track of the practice squad. Boyce and defensive end Jake Bequette are still on the roster, as are safeties Pat Chung and Tavon Wilson.
Rookie offensive lineman Chris Martin is still on the roster, surprisingly, after spending the entire off-season on the Non-Football Injury list. Perhaps the team thinks he can come back; perhaps they really want to keep him around for the practice squad. He's the big surprise of the day.
Or perhaps the big little surprise.
We'll have a requiem for Mankins. He deserves it. The Patriots picked up oversized receiver Tim Wright, whom they've been trying to acquire for the better part of two weeks, and a 4th round pick for the 32 year old guard. We'll still stitch the pieces together.
What a crazy day. The emotions stemming from the loss of Tommy Kelly seems like a thing of the past. Laughable, even.
Thank you Logan Mankins, for everything you've done for this team. Go play the toughest football the NFC South has ever seen.