FOXBORO -- The Patriots have traded Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2015 fourth-round draft pick and tight end Tim Wright, the Patriots announced.
Bill Belichick released a statement regarding Mankins as part of the announcement of the deal.
“Logan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player," the statement reads. "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. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate. 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.”
Wright will provide the Patriots with some depth at a spot in which they are sorely lacking. In 16 games last season as a rookie, he caught 54 balls for 571 yards and five touchdowns. A product of Rutgers university, Wright played under Greg Schiano both in college and in his first year as a pro.
With the addition, the Patriots will have Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Steve Maneri and Wright as its tight ends on the roster. Fullbacks James Develin and Taylor McCuller have also performed some tight-end duties during the preseason.
The loss of Mankins means that the Patriots lose their longest-tenured offensive lineman during a season when that position group is transitioning from longtime coach Dante Scarnecchia to newly-hired Dave DuGuglielmo.
Here are some of Mankins' career highlights since being drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2005 draft, courtesy of Patriots.com:
* Has been elected captain by his teammates three times (2011, 2012 & 2013).
* Has started all 126 regular-season games and all 15 postseason games in which he has appeared in since joining the Patriots in 2005.
* Named to the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
* Was selected Associated Press All-Pro: First Team in 2010.
* Was selected to the Associated Press All-Pro: Second Team in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
* The Patriots offense has finished in the top 10 in eight of his nine seasons: 2005 (7), 2007 (1), 2008 (5), 2009 (3), 2010 (8), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (7).
* In 2008, Mankins started every game at left guard as part of an offensive line that was a part of the best rushing season for the Patriots in more than 20 years in terms of rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and average yards per carry.
* Mankins and John Hannah are the only Patriots guards to earn Pro Bowl bids since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger.
* Mankins scored a touchdown in the 2006 AFC Championship Game at Indianapolis when he recovered a Tom Brady fumble in the end zone to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
* Mankins is the first Patriots guard to start every game as a rookie since Hall of Famer John Hannah did it in 1973.
* Mankins was named to Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie Team in 2005.
* In 2005, Mankins became the first Patriots rookie to start every game since Damien Woody did it in 1999.
More to come . . .