BY NICK ST. DENIS
Logan Mankins has been a staple of the New England Patriots' offense for a good part of the past decade, second to quarterback Tom Brady.
Tuesday, the team pulled that staple.
Less than two days after getting younger and cheaper on the defensive front, New England did the same on the other side of the ball, trading the longtime Pro Bowl guard to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick.
"Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made – and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make – but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, via Patriots.com.
The 2005 first-round pick Mankins earned six Pro Bowl appearances and five All-Pro nods in nine seasons with the Patriots.
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player," Belichick said. "It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program. He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached."