Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Aug 2014

Pats Deal Logan Mankins to Bucs

Wait, what? The Patriots have a habit of doing this right before the season with aging veterans, don't they? First Lawyer Milloy, then Richard Seymour, now they've dealt 32-year-old Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay for tight end Tim Wright (good receiver, can't block) and a pick. Everyone's jumping to conclusions on Twitter, but it's hard to judge the trade until we know what the pick is. But still... it feels like the Pats are always playing fifth dimensional chess. Is Mankins in decline? Is this about the cap space for a Darrelle Revis extension? Is it about replacing Aaron Hernandez? (Answers: who knows, who knows, and absolutely not.) Meanwhile, the Bucs get rid of a player they didn't need and get an upgrade at a position where they were hurting badly. Looks great for them.

UPDATE: Apparently, it's a fourth-round pick. Well, now this makes even less sense.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Aug 2014

171 comments, Last at 30 Aug 2014, 9:06am by Will Allen


by Lyford :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:13pm

I have to believe that Mankins has lost a step - or more - for the Patriots to do this. At least, I have to believe that the Patriots believe it. If they thought he was still worth his salary, I don't think they'd have made this move.

In any event, they must be happy with what they're seeing from the younger guards.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:59pm

Lost a step? They value speed in a guard that highly?

by Special J :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:31pm

There are many different ways you can define "speed" as it applies to football, but for each position on the field, at least one kind of "speed" is crucial. In Mankins' case, it was his loss of lateral speed. Greg Bedard of mmqbsi had this to say about Mankins' decline over the last 3 seasons: While he was still one of the best run-blocking guards in the league (his pulling ability freed up many big runs down the stretch last season) his pass blocking had taken a hit, most likely because of assorted leg injuries. He no longer moves very well laterally in space; it was eye opening to watch him allow five sacks in back-to-back games against the Dolphins and Steelers last fall.

Losing Mankins will be a hit to the team's run blocking, but having two more mobile guards in front of Brady might actually pose an improvement over last season, in which allowing pressure up the middle was the o-line's biggest weakness. For a team like the Patriots, that are ultimately going to live and die by the success of their passing game, it's a trade-off that makes a lot of sense, even before you start taking money factors into account.

by t.d. :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:42am

Without getting into the merits of the trade, continuity has an inherent value in online play unless a guy has lost it, physically. Didn't the Pats already lose the guy who'd been coaching the line forever already this offseason? Given that the Pats' defense on paper looks downright nasty (the best it's looked since 2006, at least) and that Brady's still the quarterback, I don't get this move now. They're still probably slight favorites to win he Super Bowl, but why take risks with the health of your old qb

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:14pm

How many times can I write "WOOOOOOOOO!" on here before the spam filter eats it? 10? 76? 2,945?

I was excited last week when we traded for somebody named "Rishaw Johnson". Or something. Some guard from KC, traded for a safety Tampa was going to cut anyways. I was excited because he name wasn't "Oniel Cousins", and anybody not named "Oniel Cousins" seemed like a good idea to me. Then, there was the Richie Incognito talk, which, well, expletives may have been uttered.

This? Tim Wright had a really excellent rookie year but became the proverbial odd man out thanks to drafting Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and signing Brandon Myers, both of whom at least have some blocking ability (Wright catches well, but that's about it). Flipping him and a mid-round pick for a guy who used to be excellent and is still pretty darn good? Really? So, taking a guy who wasn't going to be used much and using him to fill the one steaming, giant hole on your team?


by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 3:24pm

When I heard rumors the Bucs were thinking about signing Richie Incognito (came a year too late...he's a perfect Schiano man if there ever was one), I thought they had lost their damn minds. This must restore Bucs fans' faith that their team is not run by lunatics.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 3:38pm

I may have referred to Richie Incognito as "Fatter Greg Schiano" more than once over the course of the last few days.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:15pm

This does appear to be a great trade for Tampa. As for the Pats, I don't remember Belichick mis-evaluating his own players very often. Other teams' players, free agents, and college players, sure, but I never remember his shipping a Patriot to another team and being burned. Perhaps it's just selective memory.

Apparently they've decided that the young guys can play enough, and that perhaps some cap space will help extend McCourty and/or Revis.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:35pm

The calculation Belichik has to make at this point is whether the number 2 guy on the depth chart will take a year before being as good as the old guy. Brady doesn't have a lot of sand left in the hourglass, and at this point a single season is huge. I'll still maintain that if the Vikings had stuck with Birk one more year, in 2009, it may well have made the difference between losing the conference championship in ot, and winning two weeks later. Sullivan eventually became a very good player, but he wasn't quite ready in 2009, and a lesser performance at center made a real difference.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:50pm

Well, they definitely have options. Between Connolly and Cannon they have two capable guards, and in a limited sample size, Kline has shown well. They also let a 2013 Practice Squad guy play 100% of the offensive snaps the first two games of the preseason, and about 75% in the third. As usual, OL depth and flexibility hinge on RT Vollmer's health.

My guess is that Belichick doesn't think there's a significant drop off between Mankins and the others -- Mankins has been trading on his reputation the past two years. I'm of the opinion that Mankins was going to be a cap casualty one year from now, and the return next pre-season probably wouldn't be as good as this one. I mean, Bill Belichick loves two things -- tight ends and Rutgers grads.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:58pm

Tim Wright is a Schiano man I guess.

by Travis :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:14pm

I never remember his shipping a Patriot to another team and being burned.

How can you forget the immortal Bethel Johnson? http://www.csnne.com/blog/patriots-talk/bethel-johnson-irks-patriots-fan...

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:28pm

I've never heard the phrase "immortal Bethel Johnson" before. LoL! The usual phrase is "Belichick drafting blunder Bethel Johnson".

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:08pm

This wasn't a trade, but they didn't really have stellar CB play in the aftermath of Asante Samuel.

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:14pm

Belichick has a longstanding pattern of being cheap with veterans the second he thinks they are past their peak. As a Pats' fan, I hate this trade. The Pats simply don't have anybody who can step in and play left guard (or left tackle when Solder and Vollmer are both hurt, as happened last season) as well as Mankins.

This continual undercutting of the veterans hurts the Patriots, and it always has done so. BB got lucky when he replaced Lawyer Milloy with Rodney Harrison. But he still hasn't really replaced Richard Seymour. And it's no coincidence that the defense started to decline badly when Seymour left. He let Ty Law and Asante Samuel leave and had to deal with weak CB play for years. Chased Wes Welker out of town last year and watched him have a Pro Bowl season while Amendola, his nominal replacement, was injured and ineffective. Got rid of Brandon Meriweather and, well, actually I'm OK with that one. :)

Belichick knows football as well as anybody, but he's got some real bad HR issues. I'd thought he was going to finally make the push to have a solid roster this season, given Brady's advancing age, but with the Mankins departure, the interior of the O-Line is suddenly a weakness instead of a strength.

Sure, he's not playing as well as he did five years ago. But who's going to play LG now?
And yay, they got a backup TE. I hope he can block.

by JonFrum :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:50pm

Double digit wins every year since you were still pooping your pants. And you don't think Belichick knows what he's doing?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:08pm

I tend to agree with you, but as with a lot of highly regarded coaches, I'd like to see what he would do with 4 or 5 straight years of bad qb luck. The reason I think Parcells and Gibbs are the best coaches since the merger is that they did what they did with constantly changing qb situations. That Parcells went 10-6 with Quincy Carter at qb, and the rest of the roster pretty much crap, still astounds me as much as any coaching accomplishment I've seen in the NFL. Gibbs made the Super Bowl with 3 different qbs, none of whom are even close to being considered HOF candidates, and then made the playoffs, after 20 years away, with a 35 year old Mark Brunell, and then Jason Campbell and Todd Collins. I have huge respect for Belichik, but having great quarterbacking, year, after year, after year, will make up for a lot.

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:00pm

I'm a good deal older than you think I am, unless you think I had some kind of mid-30s intestinal problem in 2002.

Belichick has proven he knows how to coach a football team. But he's not above criticism. And resorting to personal comments shows that you've got nothing else.

by PaddyPat :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:43pm

Amen. I would guess most posters here are mid-30s or late 20s at the youngest, no?

by Alternator :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:59pm

Just to note, Belichick "chased" Welker out of town so hard that the Patriots offered him a better deal than he eventually signed in Denver - it was Welker's agent who thought the market would pay better, and by the time the agent wised up, the Patriots had already locked in Amendola.

by Tim F. :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:43pm

Have you heard of Wes Welker?

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:00pm

Of course I have. I'm familiar enough with him to know that Belichick didn't trade him, and in fact, tried to keep him.

by Tim F. :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:02pm

Allowing a player to leave that you could have resigned is the same as "shipping him" to me.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:11pm

So then every free-agency change of address is due to the old team not wanting the guy? He tried to re-sign Welker, just didn't want to pay him the 7.5-8 million annually his agent was asking for. Ditto Asante Samuel. Ditto Ty Law. It's a salary-cap world . Winning free agency bidding wars generally isn't a good idea.

by Tim F. :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:39pm

I'm looking at whether or not a player could be retained and whether or not the decision to not, to hope that the next in line is not significant a drop off, and will be worth it was a good one. In which case, most of the names you are mentioning were cases where Belichick did not demonstrate his infallibility. Certainly.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 9:06pm

OK, but you're ignoring the financial side of things, which has a huge effect on free agency decisions. In an uncapped world, or one in which players all make the veteran minimum, I have no doubt all of those guys would have been retained.

by Tim F. :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:47pm

No, I'm not. You seemed to have convinced yourself of your own financial story because you are deluded into thinking the Pats and Belichick can do no wrong. I'm making my argument in the context that the team may be more sustainable in a 3-5 year term but not getting better. So, sure, NE will be a top 5-10 team for a decade... but I haven't considered them #1 for a more than 5 years now either. You see a similar thing with the draft picks.

It's unclear to me how you can be so definite that letting these players go is a good thing but are convinced that if they paid out every once in a while that also definitely means they would be worse off long term.

by dryheat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:28am

I'll stand by my original statement and leave it there. I think it is unrealistic to think a team in a capped universe is going to keep all of it's free agents that it wants to -- it's why a salary cap and free agency exist -- and you can look at any Super Bowl champion for examples. I'm sure the Pats would have liked to keep Talib, Dane Fletcher, and Blount this offseason. They ended up keeping Wilfork, and Edelman and added Revis and Browner. When one's competing with 31 other teams and some players want to maximize their earnings, that's going to happen. I think it's an entirely different scenario when a GM trades a player it has under contract.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:18pm

Let's review my argument:

1. When evaluating Belichick's read on his own staff's present, near-term future, and long-term future value and his ability to either hold onto, replace, or find some other solution to one or more player's value within his own team or elsewhere, certainly some, but not necessarily all, opportunities to resign free agents are just as appropriate to look at as trades (which, despite Belichick's ability to swing a relatively large number of, are relatively scarce).

2. Belichick, whether or not he is better than any other coach, present or past, or whether or not he is more right than wrong, even overwhelmingly so, in fact does make mistakes. Even if said mistakes are made in the face of the unknown and are made in the hope of providing the greatest possible flexibility to have a working solution.

3. Even if Belichick was 100% correct in regard to all trades and/or free agent resignings up to this point in time, telling me that Belichick is good at this doesn't tell me anything relevant whatsoever in regard to whether or not he is correct this time. It's basically a religious statement.

That I'm getting pushback on any of these points is fairly absurd. Yes, Belichick is a top coach with great skills. Yes, the Patriots have remained a strong team longer than most teams in the present era and are very likely to remain a very strong team that most teams should look up to. But the question is: did this move make the Patriots better this year or in the near-term? None of the pushback that you and a couple of others are providing does anything to answer that question.

by Lyford :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:26pm

"...did this move make the Patriots better this year or in the near-term? "

I don't know. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else. You're apparently convinced that it weakens the Patriots. I'm not. Not because Belichick doesn't make mistakes, because he certainly does. But because I'm not in a position to evaluate Mankins current level of play vs. the available replacements, and quantify that difference vs. the improvement at TE that Wright can be expected to provide.

I'll go this far - if the Patriots think this move weakens them and did it anyway to save money, then it was, in fact, a horrible move. Indefensible. I'm skeptical that they think that.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:16pm

I will reiterate, since you are clearly blinded by your own fandom: I DO NOT think this is a horrible move; I think it's a move worth questioning. What I am most emphatic about is the notion: Because Belichick! This tells me nothing, absolutely nothing.

Your first post is all "belief". That without "believing" in the coaching staff, you wouldn't think it a good move. You now claim that in your eyes, you see someone on the roster superior to Mankins, and likewise, further down the roster, see players who can spell other linemen when injured or needing a rest (I presume Cannon is the most likely replacement for Mankins), don't think Mankins provides significant intangible leadership value or that that leadership can be replaced, and that Wright is superior to LeFell, Dobson, and Tyms (all of comparable size as we are talking about an oversized receiver). While I don't think this is necessarily a horrible move, I don't think that argument can be made easily or that very many people will believe it — but rather that that argument sounds more dubious than other more reasonable rationalizations for making the move.

by dryheat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:21pm

I don't now, nor did I ever, disagree with any of this.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:52pm

You most certainly did/have. Just look at your last sentence: "I think it's an entirely different scenario when a GM trades a player it has under contract." You keep trying to return to your earlier claim that trades are inherently differently than allowing a free agent to walk. That's a minor point but certainly disagreement. I could go on, but it doesn't seem necessary.

I still have not seen much more than faith-based approval; certainly no one has explained what Wright has over LeFell, Dobson, and Tyms (and I'm not making the inverse argument that they are better either), never mind how Belichick failed to properly address a hole that's so important to him in the first place — which led to this potential weakening of the OL in the first place, or who replaces Mankins, or who provides the needed depth that Cannon provided and so on.

Hell, no one has really made the most rational argument: that the OL will weaken, Wright gives them a player of a type they want/need even if it's just an unknown potential, other improvements in the WR and RB corp will hopefully compensate for the drop off, and hopefully this gives them a little more long-term flexibility and options. That's an argument that is rational and could be supported, but there are few even proposing it as a possibility — seemingly because, even though NE has been near the top of the league for a long time, it's unclear if they are getting better or are able to compete with the best teams in the rapidly closing window for Brady to win another Super Bowl.

by dryheat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:53pm

This was my opening statement:

As for the Pats, I don't remember Belichick mis-evaluating his own players very often. Other teams' players, free agents, and college players, sure, but I never remember his shipping a Patriot to another team and being burned. Perhaps it's just selective memory.

You asked me if I'd heard of Wes Welker. I said that I had, and that Welker wasn't traded (and the implication is that he is not part of the class "A Player Belichick Traded" and therefore not included in my statement). You then said that in your eyes, trading a player and not re-signing a player were tantamount to the same thing. I do disagree with that -- one is declining to sign an asset you do not have, the other is actively jettisoning an asset you do have -- but I never said that Belichick was infallible -- in fact in my opening statement above, I expressly said that he was very fallible in other areas of evaluation. Nor did I say that this trade would be a good one for the Pats. What I said is above in italics, which spun off into an unintended direction.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:13pm

Jesus, you disagree with my point #1. And then you say that you don't disagree with any one of the points I stated. And now you are reiterating that you disagree with point #1... Which is it?

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:18pm

removed double post

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:02pm

Belichick didn't really try very hard to keep Welker. He ended up paying Amendola more than he had offered Welker.

(I mean, unless you count the incentives pay for Welker, which seems a bit silly to do, since the ability to reach the incentive numbers was under Belichick's control, and he'd already shown his desire to replace Welker with Edelman.)

Belichick spent the entire off-season of 2012-13 talking about how he wanted to make retaining Welker a priority. And then he low-balled him.

by PatsFan :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 11:36pm

Given that Welker signed a contract with Denver for minimally more than NE offered him, "lowball" is an inapt term.

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:49am

Other teams were not expecting Welker to be on the market, since the Pats had been talking all winter about how they planned to retain him. And let's recall that Welker was a Pro Bowl WR in 2012-2013.

Check out http://overthecap.com/position/wide-receiver/2013/ and look at what other WRs were making. The Pats offered Welker less than what Stevie Johnson was making in Buffalo. Much less than what Mike Williams was getting paid by Tampa. Or what Santonio Holmes was getting from the Jets. Half of the guys listed as making more money that Welker are simply not in his level. The Broncos only had to beat the Pats in the bidding war. And the Pats made that really easy to do.

So I would argue that "lowball" is still a fair description of what the offer was. It was neither at the level of comparable receivers, nor was it enough to retain his services. What other criteria does one need? Would it have been necessary for the Broncos to double the Pats' offer?

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:05am

Look, the problem with Welker's situation is well documented and has been discussed on this site and elsewhere. The time for Welker to have secured a nice deal from the Pats came and went because of the miserable timing of his wrecked knee at the end of the 2009 season. It's tough to give a nice extension to a 32 year old receiver, pro bowl or not. The Patriots didn't exactly mishandle the situation; it was very hard to evaluate his worth in context with his age because a guy at that age should, optimally, be playing out his contract, which has him signed through 34 or so. He ended up getting franchised because the time to sign him came and went amidst uncertainty with his health. It ended up working out poorly for him and the Patriots, but it happened because it was difficult to evaluate his future value for several years running.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:56am

I think RickD would imply that given the Denver contract, he still could have been had for a modest price. I guess I'm in the camp that thinks the relationship was spoiled prior to that season.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:12am

Another reason Welker is in Denver, is that the Patriots gave a nice extension to Gronk and Hernandez. Keeping all of them would have been pretty foolish; unfortunately for New England, one of the guys they picked to keep had other issues, ones you cannot blame the Patriots for not knowing until it was too late.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:14am

But didn't brady take a pay cut for that exact reason? I mean, in a vacuum, I thought it was the right move because Amendola seemed like the perfect welker substitute while being considerably younger.

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:19am

Amendola has never played at the level that Welker has. Yes, they're both short white guys that play the slot. That's it.

And Belichick was happy to pay Amendola more than he was willing to offer Welker. After that went down, Welker had a much better season than Amendola.

I don't see how this can be construed as something other than a big mistake on Belichick's part, one that was largely motivated by personal reasons.

by nat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:58am

After that went down, Welker had a much better season than Amendola.

I'm not sure you can really say "much better". Amendola had the higher DVOA, and lost out on DYAR/game by 14.9 to 13.6 - a difference of 1.3 DYAR each game played.

Much of the apparent difference was due to the much easier schedule Welker faced. Welker's VOA is 1.7 higher than his DVOA at 11.0% vs 9.3%. Amendola's VOA is a whopping 7.2 lower than his DVOA, at 5.1% vs 12.3%.

If FO stats are to be trusted, this looks close to a wash. We should at least suspend judgment until we see how Welker on the Broncos does against good defenses and Amendola on the Patriots does against weak ones.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:29pm

Being on the field adds to the 'better' season part.

by nat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:33pm

So true. But playing in 13 games versus 12 games isn't much of a difference, is it? Not enough to call it a "big mistake" anyway.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:11pm

Honestly, didn't realize Amendola played 12 games, thought it was fewer, so I retract that part.

I will say that WR DVOA/DYAR numbers aren't really the best. I don't think it was obviously a mistake or not, but Welker definitely seemed more dynamic in New England than Amendola was last year.

It could very well change in 2014, but I think many Pats fans were expectig per game numbers more in line with Welker's from '07-'12 (even if Edelman took a lot of that over).

by nat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:56pm

I agree about DVOA/DYAR numbers in general. It doesn't do to compare receiver DVOAs unless two receivers get similar enough usage (as is true for these two). DYAR is usually better, since it rewards a receiver for getting open a lot, which DVOA does not.

The really tricky thing about Welker is that his companion WRs were so good. That should tend to drive his DVOA up and his targets down, which is just what happened. His 2013 DYAR may be understating his potential value to the Broncos. Unlike most of his time at the Patriots, Welker was "just another guy" on the Broncos receiving corps. With Decker gone, Welker may get targeted more, and rack up DYAR as in the old days.

The upshot is that it's way too soon to call Belichick's move a mistake or a success.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:30am

Both had/have issues.

And it seems completely nonsensical to claim that Hernandez situation couldn't be known when we are equally discussing issues like injury or athletic decline which are also pretty hard to know (but it should have been pretty easy to know that Hernandez was a great big scumbag and that off field issues could ultimately affect his availability on the field).

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:00am

I'll admit I am giving the Patriots the benefit of the doubt in that case, probably because believing they had any inkling of Hernandez' deeds is just too dark a place for me to think about.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:16pm

I think it likely that they did not have an inking, and the reason why they did not have an inkling because they loved his talent, and thus decided to not look to deeply into the past behavior of a 4th round draft pick, and then they loved his production, so they decided to not look too deeply into past behavior.

by dryheat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:02pm

Oh, I'll bet they knew about his past. He grew up in New England, and Urban Meyer and Belichick talk frequently. If they didn't know about the past, he wouldn't have gotten out of the second round. In the fourth round the decided the risk/reward equation was satisfied -- he was the youngest player in the league his rookie year, and the thought was probably that his maturation and getting him out of Florida would mellow him out. The mistake, if there was one, was the big, early, extension. I guess after a couple of years of superficial good behavior, Belichick and Kraft were satisfied that the spots had been changed.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:25am

"The Patriots didn't exactly mishandle the situation"

Considering we are exploring the thesis of "I trust in Bill Belichick" or "Belichick has a plan" or "no one's opinion of what Mankins contributes versus what we've seen in training camp and preseason from younger guys can be correct but Belichick's", we can say with the benefit of hindsight that they did mishandle it, in the case of Welker, and that Belichick's plans don't always work out.

Yes, with the potential for the unknown, was it a reasonably conservative course of action that best afforded them other opportunities? Sure. Was it the right move that proved that Belichick usually knows better than everyone else with some supernatural sense of precognition or higher order intelligence? Hell no.

Plenty of people said he was still the same Welker (if maybe a little diminished from his peak), that he could perform as well without Brady, would have a few years left, that he was worth the money, and that they risked letting him go to a dangerous opponent, while spending nearly comparable money on an unknown that could break down even quicker or never be as good, and that Welker couldn't be easily be replaced.

Which brings us to Mankins, a very different scenario with it's own circumstances, but in some way similar. I'm not going to listen to the guy that says: just have faith! Yes, Belichick is a great coach who's going to be more right more times than most, but by no means is he always right and just have faith is not a reasonable or persuasive argument.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:35am

All fair points. I'm not arguing that one should just have "faith". I would say that none of the Patriots' painful personnel moves have exactly been disasters on a par with their draft mistakes under Belichick though. Belichick has completely flopped drafting DBs, pass rushers like Cunningham, occasionally wide receivers... His decisions to trade or let walk well-loved veterans... Glenn, Vinatieri, Seymour, Bledsoe, Vrabel, McGinest, Milloy, Law, Welker, Moss, Samuel, Branch... were any of them terrible moves?

He low-balled Vinatieri and has arguably gotten better production from Gostkowski. He traded away Vrabel and released McGinest, dumped Moss, low-balled Deion Branch; I mean, there's a long pattern here.

Most of the decisions seem like a wash at worst. You might even argue that holding onto Rodney Harrison as long as he did was a bigger mistake than letting any of these guys go.

by Tim F. :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:03am

"His decisions to trade or let walk well-loved veterans... Glenn, Vinatieri, Seymour, Bledsoe, Vrabel, McGinest, Milloy, Law, Welker, Moss, Samuel, Branch... were any of them terrible moves?"

I'm not arguing that all "well-loved" players should be re-signed. I'm saying there is a right time and a wrong time to let go or acquire someone, that Belichick doesn't always do it right, and that I'm not convinced that he's right in this instance, certainly not based on anything that anyone has argued here.

I'm certainly not arguing this move causes an implosion that destroys the Patriots and Belichick's career. What I am saying is that most of the comments here are completely and utterly devoid of a rational argument.

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:32am

People harp on Belichick's draft mistakes, and yet the team has won more games over the past ten years than any other franchise in the NFL.

Maybe drafting players isn't as easy as people would have us believe. Yes, occasionally a team gets luckier than average (as the Seahawks have done recently), but I'm far from convinced that this is a real problem for the franchise.

And really, does it matter how the Pats find players, as long as they find good ones?

As an example, consider the recent drafting of Josh Boyce. He has yet to show that he's ever going to get real playing time. OTOH, free agent Kenbrell Thompkins looks like he'll be ahead of Boyce on the depth chart? Should we look at this as a failure to judge Boyce correctly, or is it a success in judging Thompkins?

The Patriots are not obliged to build a team where draft position determines playing time.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:50pm

The harping is with respect to systematic errors. Belichick seems to draft well at certain positions and consistently poorly at others.

Wide receiver has been a consistent disaster: Since the banner year of 2002 with Deion Branch (round 2, pick 65) and David Givens (7, 253), Belichick has drafted: Bethel Johnson (2, 45), P.K. Sam (5, 164), Chad Jackson (2, 36), Matt Slater (5, 153), Julian Edelman (7, 232), Brandon Tate (3, 83), Taylor Price (3, 90), Jeremy Ebert (7, 235), and then Aaron Dobson (2, 59), and Josh Boyce (4, 102). Several of the picks seemed to be reaches at the time.

When the dust settles, Matthew Slater was a great find, but exclusively as a gunner, Edelman is obviously a good player, but he was a 7th round quarterback/receiver conversion project, and the jury is out on Dobson, while Boyce looks to be a likely cut next week. That's a lot of draft value adding up to squat.

Defensive back has been far worse. Antwan Harris (6, 187), Leonard Myers (6, 200), Brock Williams (3, 86), Asante Samuel (4, 120), Eugene Wilson (2, 36), Christian Morton (7, 233), Dexter Reid (4, 113), Guss Scott (3, 95), Ellis Hobbs (3, 84), James Sanders (4, 133), Willie Andrews (7, 229), Mike Richardson (6, 202), Brandon Meriweather (1, 24), Jonathan Wilhite (4, 129), Terence Wheatley (2, 62), Darius Butler (2, 41), Patrick Chung (2, 34), Devin McCourty (1, 27), Malcolm Williams (7, 219), Ras-I Dowling (2, 33), Alfonzo Dennard (7, 224), Nate Ebner (6, 197), Tavon Wilson (2, 48), Duron Harmon (3, 91), Logan Ryan (3, 83), Jemea Thomas (6, 206).

That is a slew of picks. It seems like he picks a corner or safety with a high-to-mid-range pick every year, and most of them are total busts. We're looking at 26 picks in 15 years, or slightly less than 2 per year. That adds up to 2 1s, 6 2s, 5 3s, 4 4s, 5 6s, and 4 7s. And what has he gotten for all of that? One good corner (Asante Samuel) 2 starting corners of arguable value (Dennard and Hobbs) a trio of marginal to okay safeties (Meriweather, Eugene Wilson, James Sanders), 1 good safety who was supposed to be a shutdown corner (McCourty) and a few guys where the jury's still out.

I would say that's pretty staggeringly bad. At least Belichick has had the humility to keep dipping into the draft and trying again year after year. I mean, Wilhite, Wheatley, Butler, Chung, year after year, these are poor picks.

He's certainly not a terrible personnel guy, but I wouldn't place him much higher than a bit above average, and the systematic errors really hurt the team. He has other trouble spots, like D-line, and then positions where he seems to do well (O-line), and he doesn't tend to miss on 1st round picks...

by theslothook :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:55pm

To be honest - you can't properly judge belichick's effectiveness when you don't know what the overall standard for drafting is. Maybe BB is league average at drafting those positions and many other teams are far worse.

Actually, the whole exercise is moot because there is NO evidence that anyone can consistently draft well. Neil Payne had an article on it and I've actually done a stat project using the nfl draft. The draft largely boils down to where you pick and how lucky you get.

That doesn't mean you can't screw it up - ie - trading lots of draft picks for 1 over the hill veteran, spending high picks on guards and running backs, drafting 4 wide receivers in 4 consecutive first rounds, etc etc.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:06pm

I haven't looked at it recently, but you mention anecdotally that you can screw it up. Can you statistically show that that someone is bad at drafting? I understand that you can't show someone is good at drafting, but showing that someone is consistently bad at drafting is a different question, even if it uses the same data set, it's possible that you can get a statistically significant answer to it, I just don't know if anyone has tried.

by theslothook :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:25pm

It's actually testing the same thing. I have done it and planned to pen an article for FO come draft day.

The basic method I used was I identified what the expected value of each pick was and then measured each regimes ability to draft above or below expected value. The regime definition was a bit tough since it's actually quite hard to know whos making what decisions, so i limited it to coaching regimes that had at least 4 years of drafts.

Overall, statistically, there seems to be no evidence in my study that shows there's anyone who can consistently win or lose in the draft, though there are two major outliers in my data. The first was the bill walsh era 49ers(in the good direction) and the early 90s saints in the opposite direction.

In reference to my post above, that was more anecdotal. I am specifically referring to the saints riki williams trade - who basically traded all of their draft picks for one player who isn't a quarterback.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:52pm

Your theses conforms to my long held suspicion, for what it worth. People who are geniuses when it comes to drafting just haven't been doing the job long enough. Head coaches earn their pay, in order, by 1)hiring staff 2) via teaching and managing personalities 3)talent evaluation of guys in their organization 4)game planning 5) play calling.

by PaddyPat :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:53pm

Can't we more or less stipulate that Matt Millen drafted badly? What are you using as a statistical point to evaluate player quality?... Games started doesn't really cut it. I'm not sure what you can use to say that the guy drafts players who play and suck as well as players who don't play and almost never gets a quality player... It's really just still too hard to evaluate performance in a statistical manner to make clear comparisons I guess.

by theslothook :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:34pm

Addressing the measurement issue. My criteria uses a weighting system of years in the league, years started, probowls, all pros, and what I like to call professional all pros(done by Si's drZ till 07 and the pff since). There's a lot that goes into what why I did what I did. Is it perfect, absolutely not. Crude as it is, it actually is a reasonable system because one thing you find very quickly - most poor players never last more than their first contract and almost never start more than 4 years. Even marginal one's are done in 6 years. A very small sample actually make it to 8 - thus a player even getting to be an 8 year starter is a pretty good pick.

To your first comment - There's a difference between drafting wisely and hitting on the draft. Matt Millen's decisions were terrible, but whether the picks panned out or not(at least by the evidence) seems to be beyond Matt Millen's control.

by PaddyPat :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 9:59pm

A very respectable response. So... when can we read the article? Or have you posted your data somewhere on these vast Internets??

by theslothook :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:09pm

aaron said it will probably be during the draft period

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 1:50pm

I have an issue with this. I mean, obviously if I were to draft for a pro team, I'd do a terrible job. What I mean is that first rounders are more likely to make it than second rounders and so on. It requires ability and knowledge to define which players are first rounders and which aren't. It follows that some people will be better at it than others.

Granted, this is an (almost) purely logical argument, but how can it not hold true.

Who, me?

by tuluse :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:09pm

Agreed, the fact that first rounders are more likely to succeed proves that scouting is real.

Now it very well may be true that there are no significant difference between NFL talent evaluators (non Millen division at least), but that doesn't mean it's not a real thing.

There is also very little difference between NFL long snappers, it's still a skill and random dudes off the street can't (see: Chargers, Norv Turner era).

by theslothook :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:53pm

My retort to this would be - If it were really true that first rounders succeed more because teams scout them better, then we would see the entire first round exhibit a significant premium and the decline starts after the first round has concluded. Instead, the decline is actually sharpest within the first round and begins to tail off as we descend down the draft. In fact, the decline from the top 10 to the bottom 20 of the first round is significantly larger than the decline from a low third rounder to a mid 5th rounder - implying it's less a scouting thing and more about pure talent. That's not to say that a bottom 15 first rounder is the same as a 3rd rounder(it's not), just the drop off from pick #25 and pick #1 is immense.

More generally, in the articles I've read, team's spend a ton of scouting all their draft selections, including the many undrafted FA they have ready to bring in once draft day has ended. I really don't think its a scouting thing.

by Guest789 :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:57pm

I just want to see how narrow these reply columns can get.

by PaddyPat :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 5:59pm

I guess the reason one balks at this conclusion intuitively is that some teams certainly seem to obtain more value from their draft picks than others, but that often relates also to the use of draft picks as bargaining chips. Teams that trade picks to move up and trade picks for players often make moves that appear to hurt them as organizations. It's hard to believe that Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones cannot be found to be poor general managers using some sort of quantifiable data. That would go quite a bit beyond simple drafting value though...

by theslothook :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 6:23pm

JJ and Snyder have actually done a decent job on their first round picks. Just recently, JJ has gotten Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Travis Frederick. Snyder has gotten Arakpo, Kerrigan, Trent Williams, etc.

The real reasons those gms are bad stems from what I was talking about above - they just aren't allocating their draft resources well. Trading away multiple picks or selecting centers who aren't the highest rated players on their board, etc.

I think my favorite recent example of GM ineptitude is Marty Hurney. He traded away future higher picks for current but lowers picks, ie - trading a future first for a 2nd or a future 2nd for a third. He also drafted two running backs in the first round only a few years apart and then paid both contract extensions. These are the sort of deals that can bury a team later, forcing them to gut most of their receiving core and defensive backfield.

by theslothook :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 6:24pm

double post.

by Will Allen :: Sat, 08/30/2014 - 9:06am

Like assigning a huge amount of cap space to a fat defensive tackle whose largest ambition is to sit on the couch? Trading a number 1 for a wide receiver that Matt Millen already screwed up on?

by tuluse :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 6:24pm

I was using first round as short hand. The point is the better players tend to go earlier in the draft.

"More generally, in the articles I've read, team's spend a ton of scouting all their draft selections, including the many undrafted FA they have ready to bring in once draft day has ended. I really don't think its a scouting thing."

Good thing I never claimed scouting made players better.

by Guest789 :: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:57pm

double post

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:23am

"The Patriots didn't exactly mishandle the situation."

They paid Amendola more money than they were offering Welker, more than Welker ending up taking from the Broncos, and ended up with the inferior receiver.

How is that not "mishandling"? Had they simply matched the Broncos' offer, they would have saved money and had a better team.

And they did all of that after Brady took a pay cut, specifically to help the Patriots retain talent. And by talent, I'm sure he meant Welker. In retrospect, Brady should have not renegotiated, and put together a side deal with Welker himself.

But Welker isn't gung ho enough for Belichick, so he had to get rid of the guy.

by dryheat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:36am

Your error is in thinking about that process as a static point in time. Clearly it isn't. As I recall:

1. Welker's agent asked for a 3 or 4 year deal at about 8.5m annually (yes, I could look it up, but I don't think the exact parameters are germane here).

2. Belichick, having already done due diligence and identified Amendola as Welker's replacement should he walk, decides Welker's demands are in the wrong stratosphere, and moves quickly on free agent Amendola, before another team signs him. Amendola signs for that ~5 million that Team Welker turned down.

3. Welker's agent, not finding the market he thought he would, gets an offer from the Broncos that is slightly less than the one he turned down from the Patriots and asks New England if they care to beat it.

4. Having already signed Amendola, Belichick declines. Welker goes on to have a great season with the Broncos, although he misses some time with a pair of concussions.

Assuming this time line is correct, and if not, enlighten me, I fail to see any mishandling of the situation. In fact, given that Welker was seeking 3.5 million more than Belichick was offering, I think he handled the situation very well, also assuming that he felt Amendola was the only other guy on the market that could fill Welker's role (Edelman coming off injury himself), and didn't want to risk getting neither.

Unless you feel that BB should have known Amendola was going to get hurt again. But I don't think the likelihood of that was significantly greater than Welker getting hurt again.

Brady took a pay cut to help the Patriots field the best team possible. I'm doubtful that he took a pay cut for BB to give it to one specific player.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:31pm

There is also a longitudinal element to this discussion. I, for one, am not sold on the idea that Amendola in 2015 will not be a major upgrade on Welker in 2015. Honestly, with Welker's concussion issues, it seems halfway plausible that Amendola will be the healthier, younger, better, more reliable player for the duration of the contract. There's a bit of apples and oranges when comparing a 32/yo player and a 27/yo player, and the contract issue was not only about 2013.

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:23pm

"Your error is in thinking about that process as a static point in time. Clearly it isn't. "

Oh, come on. That's just gratuitous. And silly.

"1. Welker's agent asked for a 3 or 4 year deal at about 8.5m annually (yes, I could look it up, but I don't think the exact parameters are germane here)."

The numbers are germane. In 2011, Welker had been offered a 2-year deal at $8 million/year, all guaranteed. By the Patriots. Welker wanted a third year. By the time he became a free agent, right after having a Pro Bowl season in 2012, the Patriots offered him considerably less than that. Instead of being offered $8 million/year he was now being offered $4 million/year, with some incentives that could bring it over $6 million/year.

And that's what I mean by "lowballing" him. They halved the guaranteed money that they were offering.

"3. Welker's agent, not finding the market he thought he would, gets an offer from the Broncos that is slightly less than the one he turned down from the Patriots and asks New England if they care to beat it."

Slightly less? It was 2 years for $12 million instead of 2 years for $16 million. That's 25% less.
Also, they made the move to sign Amendola the very first day of the free agency period. This sequence of actions is basically flipping Welker the bird. "Oh, sure, you can stay here, but our offer is half what we said it would be, and also, we're about to sign somebody else."

Kraft and Belichick poured on enough spin to confuse the process and keep the fan base from rebelling, but that's essentially what they did.

"I'm doubtful that he took a pay cut for BB to give it to one specific player."

Go ahead and doubt all you want. But Welker was Brady's favorite WR and he was the only prominent Patriot who was a free agent in the 2013 offseason. He definitely wanted Welker to be retained. I think you're grasping for straws here. Brady didn't take a pay cut so they could retain Matthew Slater. He wasn't doing so for the general betterment of the team. It was well understood at the time that he wanted Welker to come back.

by JFP :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:27pm

In Bill I trust. I always liked him so my only regret is Pats not winning a SB with Mankins.

I know nothing about him, but I just added Wright to my fantasy team.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:36pm

Tall, good hands, not going to flash Jimmy Graham-ish athleticism by any measure, but showed enough to make him a very viable pass-catching TE (can't block worth anything). Really did play well in that horrible year, and, while I'm sad to see him go, he really didn't have much of a season ahead of him just due to how the roster took shape this offseason. I suspect Brady will love him, and Wright will have a really productive year. While I'm surprised the Patriots didn't get more out of the deal, I think there's very much a win-win element to this trade for both sides.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:30pm

You've got to think if Wright could catch 54 balls from Bucs QBs that he will be much more productive with Brady throwing to him. Belichick has a habit of coaching players up - think how much more productive Welker and Moss became once they arrived in New England from Miami and Oakland.

In terms of getting more out of the deal, Wright is young and could easily play for the next ten years if he's good enough.

by jabrch :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:42pm

Time to bump Doug Martin up on your fantasy draft boards? Mankins is still an elite calibre (top 5ish?) run blocker.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:44pm

I would disagree with that assessment. Of course, he'll never be more motivated than he is now.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:54pm

Mankins has a pretty market-rate contract, so if he is declining at all this could make a lot of sense for the Patriots in the "Sell-a-Year-Early" sense. Mankins has lost a step (as documented on FO amongst other places) and if he is still a good guard, well, the Patriots may well have a good guard at a better price.

Can Tim Wright catch a back shoulder fade for eight yards and a first down? Because Aaron Hernandez couldn't.

Edit: LM's cap hits are $6.25M, $7M, $7M. That is pretty expensive for a declining guard, although it isn't bank-breaking. Presumably this means they have or think they have an 80% solution on the roster at guard.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:57pm

It's hard to turn your torso far enough while wearing .45 in a shoulder holster under your jersey.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 3:59pm

I believe those are his annual salaries, not his cap hits. I read that his cap number was north of 10 million for 2014, but that of course could have been wrong.

Edit: 10.5 million dollar cap figure for 2014. The Pats take a cap hit of 4.25 million this year and 4 million next year.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:46pm

Most receiving yards by a rookie tight end this century:

1. Jeremy Shockey (894)
2. John Carlson (627)
3. Tim Wright (571)

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:23pm

Aaron Hernandez 563
Rob Gronkowski 546
Jimmy Graham 356

(I was interested and thought others might also be.)

...and of course "fantasy TE" (according to Yahoo Sports)
Marques Colston 1038.

That was a good pick-up for Belichick's Hoodies that year.

by nat :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:15am

How about DYAR?

His 133 DYAR (ranking sixth in 2013) looks pretty good.

by tuluse :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 3:10pm

This might be the rare good for both teams trade?

Tampa gives up some stuff they don't really need to get an upgrade they badly need. NE gives up an aging player to grab some young potential.

by Cro-Mags :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 3:36pm

Mankins was #2 behind Brady in cap number, and in decline the last few years. Have to think they are looking to free space to keep Revis around.

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:24pm

I'll be stunned if they keep Revis. Not unhappy, mind you.

by Tim F. :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:49pm

If they don't win the Super Bowl or convince Revis that they have very, very good odds of winning it next year, why would Revis stick around? He'll pull a Talib in a heart beat.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:16am

Revis would be foolish to stick around longer than a couple of years in New England, simply because he must be chasing championships as well as money. You have to figure the Patriots' window closes in a couple of years when Brady is done.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:39am

I'm probably being too much of a BB believer, but I honestly don't think NE's run truly ends until BB is out. The pats can withstand a loss from brady because, outside of maybe 2010-2012, the team has never been completely dependent on a pass first offense. NE has always fielded a good run game and a very qb friendly system. Obviously, a transcedant player like Brady pushes it into the stratosphere, but that doesn't mean it is prohibitive once he leaves. I think Garapolo could be an andy dalton level talent and the pats control of the division will continue.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:37am

Was going to say that Belichick probably doesn't see the window closing when Brady leaves and therefore he isn't getting into win-now mode as everybody else thinks he should.

He only has to look back to 2008 to see that he used Cassell, who hadn't started since high school (or pretty much anywhere since), to take the team to 11-5 and miss the playoffs because at the expense of the 8-8 Chargers.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 8:57am

That 11-5 team won 16 games the previous season. It was a great roster, which had a large drop-off when the qb went down.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 9:05am

Well, if they beat those same 8-8 Chargers, instead of losing 30-10, they make the playoffs.

That team went 11-5 on an ultra-soft schedule (AFC West, NFC West - best record: 9-7 Arizona), lost to basically every good team they played apart from that Arizona farce. They would have been wiped away pretty quickly in the playoffs.

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:33am

Yes, the myth of Matt Cassel needs to go away.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:19pm

As a Vikings fan, I choose to think highly of myths. For now.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:52pm

Myths some day fade, as will hopefully soon Matt Cassel.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:16pm

Not until the Myth of Theodore of the Bridge is established!!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:30pm

I actually thought of you the other day at the Minnesota State Fair and saw somebody wearing a Ponder jersey. I thought "I know somebody who would probably like to stab that guy".

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:44pm

Lemme know if you see somebody with a Joe Webb jersey, and then we'll know that the guy who used to visit here, to lobby for Joe Webb's induction to the Hall of Fame, wasn't simply trolling.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:47pm

I've actually revisited that thread for comedy purposes. He argues so passionately with such logical coherence despite the fact that the premise itself was so absurd.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:54pm

Between him and the guy, Paul M. (?), who once wrote that "the water really does run colder and faster in Green Bay" just prior to Eli ending the Super Bowl parade three weeks early, the NFC North has more irrationally optimistic fans anywhere outside of a Sierra Nevada Brewery.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:03pm

I believe the real villain was QQ, who went on way too long about how the Packers were going to make us rethink what a dynasty was and win six Super Bowls with Rodgers and they were redifining football.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:16pm

In his defense(Actually not really), there were times during the 2011 season that I thought Rodgers had perfectly straddled the reading defenses/running for the first down axis of qb play - which meant he had actually achieved qb god mode and that it would nearly impossible to defend him.

In all honesty, I wonder if there will be a player who will combine Manning's pre-snap abilities and quick release with the pocket movement and mobility of Brady and Rodgers respectively. It hasn't happened yet, which makes me think some of it is mutually exclusive, but we'll see.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:31pm

Whomever the soothsayer was, was slayed me was the firm belief that every Ted Thompson draft pick would be wearing a yellow blazer in Canton within 20 years of being drafted, like Butterfinger candy bars being wrapped in an assembly line.

by Guest789 :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:19am

I like to imagine he'll make a return to insist that Tolzien should start over Rodgers.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by Purds :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:31pm

Best comment in the thread!

by MC2 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 9:05am

It's a common myth that the Patriots didn't miss Brady all that much in '08, or that they still had a successful year even without him. Yes, they went 11-5, which sounds good, but not when you consider that they had virtually the same roster that had just gone 16-0 the year before(with most of those 16 wins being of the blowout variety). In fact, their offensive DVOA plummeted from 43.5% in '07 to 12.5% in '08. And (according to DVOA) they went from having the 10th toughest schedule in '07 to the 5th easiest schedule in '08. They were set up to dominate again.

Considering all that, if Brady had stayed healthy, I can't see any way they wouldn't have gone 14-2 at the very least, and even another 16-0 season was certainly not outside the realm of possibility, especially given how much softer their schedule was. Seen in that light, 11-5 doesn't sound so impressive, does it? Belichick is a great coach, but losing a first-ballot HOF QB is tough for any team to overcome.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:06pm

You aren't wrong, but using weighted DVOA shows that Patriots team was getting better. They had the 2nd highest Weighted DVOA on offense in 2008 (still a good 20% below the '07 team), and had some blowout wins too.

That said, great coaching job or not, that was an entirely soft 11-5 team. Had they won another game (or won the tiebreaker over Miami), they would have faced the #2 DVOA (and #2 DVOA defense - Top-10 DVOA era defense) Ravens who probably would have beaten them rather easily.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:21pm

This: IF you compare Cassel's second half pass dvoa, it was actually higher than Brady's 07 second half pass dvoa. Obviously, I'm not claiming Cassell was outplaying Brady, but he had clearly gotten a lot better and their pass offense was actually very strong.

I think my larger point was - the team isn't dependent on the pass offense the way Denver and San Diego's was last year. NE consistently fields good run offenses, good special teams, and a defense that gets a fair share of turnovers and is reasonably strong in the red zone.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:26pm

If Garapolo is the equal of Andy Dalton, then the Pats won't get out of the first round under him. Honestly, I doubt he will be any close to that level, although he has done well in the preseason. Matt Waldman agrees with me on his chances too.

While the Pats system has not always been a pass first offense, their success since 2001 has depended on quality quarterback play. I remember watching games in 2003, and thinking that Brady was killing the Jets even though his stats weren't awesome. By the way, if you swapped out Brady for Andy Dalton, the Bengals would be the overwhelming favorite to win the AFC. The rest of that team is loaded, from the defense, to the offensive line, to the skill positions. Without Brady, the Pats would go from being prohibitive favorites in the division, to just being favorites, especially if the other teams young quarterbacks work out.

The real impetus for organizational strength in the NFL is ownership. As long as Kraft owns the Pats, they will have a chance to contend in the NFL.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:22pm

I'm not sure Brady would make the bengals a prohibitive favorite in Cincinnati. Yes, AJ green would be a massive upgrade over anyone on the Pats, but the bengals lost their best pass rusher and most of their secondary is made up of cast offs that I believe Zimmer coached up.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:49pm

The Bengals secondary has been, and probably still is, better than the Patriots secondary the last three or four years until this year with the arrival of Revis. McCourty is a really good player, and he would start in that secondary. No one else suiting up for the Pats from 2010 until this year would start in that secondary. Yet the Pats won 14, 13, 12 and 12 games all of those seasons. You are underestimating how much Brady and their successful offense matters to the Patriots' success. Patriot fans talk consistently of how little points their defense gives up, and yet their defense keeps ranking poorly in DVOA each year. Why is that? Because the offense rarely puts the defense in bad positions, consistently keeps the other offense off the field, and puts pressure on the other offense to score touchdowns and not field goals. That leads to other offenses taking risks, and bundles of turnovers.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:01pm

I might agree - except the patriots aren't the only team that has a successful pass offense and yet seem to be the only team that consistently fields good special teams, good running games - has avoided ever having horrible red zone defenses or defenses that were below average in turnover margin. At various times - manning, brees, rivers, and rodgers have not had these benefits and often multiple occurring at the same time.

I need to reiterate, this isn't a knock on brady as much as it is praise for the NE coaching staff.

by MC2 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 6:49pm

The Bengals secondary has been, and probably still is, better than the Patriots secondary the last three or four years until this year with the arrival of Revis. McCourty is a really good player, and he would start in that secondary. No one else suiting up for the Pats from 2010 until this year would start in that secondary.


by mehllageman56 :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:40am

You're right, I forgot him. I don't know if he beats out Leon Hall or Jonathan Joseph when they're healthy, but he would have started one of the last four years there.

by theslothook :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:41pm

Can anyone who watched Tim WRight regularly tell me if he's a welker like diamond in the rough? I can't imagine jettisoning a long time starting guard at this point in the season.

by Ryan Harris :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:35pm

"Welker Like" would be a stretch, but he definitely has strong hands. He was an effort blocker but simply doesn't have the size to play on the line. Im assuming he will be a WR for the Pats, no way BB thinks that he can be an asset in the running game.

by Malene_copenhagen :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:48pm

I have to think there's still some bad blood from Mankins' holding out half the 2010 season. BB tends to hold his grudges with players who refuse to do business his way. He's still notably reluctant to give Wilfork positive comments in press conferences after their contract dispute.

I'm pretty sure the Pats looked ahead and decided they weren't entertaining another contract battle with Logan.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:25pm

I think there is a real downside to having a head coach who gets heavily involved in contract negotiations.

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:26pm

I doubt Belichick has nursed a grudge for four years just to do this. While I do think the decision to get rid of Welker was due to personal animosity between the two, I'm convinced by his statement today that Belichick has always held Mankins in very high esteem.

He's just penny pinching.

There wouldn't have been another contract battle with Mankins. It's clear by now that Mankins doesn't have another big contract coming from anybody. His whiff block on Pot Roast in the AFC Championship game put an end to such a possibility, if prior play hadn't done so already.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:03pm

I simply think they looked at the roster and decided that the talent level drop between Mankins and his replacement was far, far, less than the 7 million dollar difference in cap hit. Nothing personal about it.

by PatsFan :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 4:55pm

My guess is they approached Mankins about some contract rework to lower his cap number (and, frankly, take less outright, not just moving money around). And I'm sure Mankins said "@&*%@ you!" (not saying he was wrong to say that) and so the trade happened.

by duh :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:47pm

This is the explanation that makes the most sense to me in terms of what happened. As a fan though I kinda wish it hadn't

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:29pm

More recent reporting indicates that this is exactly what happened (minus the confirmation of Mankins' language, that is.)

I don't have a huge issue with Belichick deciding that Mankins doesn't deserve the big money any longer. I just hate the timing here.

One interesting side effect of this trade is that Mankins will have a second shot to block the Redskins' pass rush (including Kerrigan and Orakpo) in the same pre-season. The line as a whole didn't do well for the Pats in their first pre-season game, though my impression was that was more an issue with the tackles than the interior.

by theslothook :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:48pm

Does this mean we should expect Wilfork to be dealt in similar fashion?

by RickD :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:28pm

Wilfork just restructured his contract over the off-season. So I would lean towards 'no'. Had he not been willing to do so (and he took some convincing), I don't think he'd be a Patriot right now.

by theslothook :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:34pm

To me, this all started with Ted Johnson...the ultimate company man.

by theslothook :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:34pm

To me, this all started with Ted Johnson...the ultimate company man.

by JoeyHarringtonReigns :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:40pm

Or did it start with Jacob two-two.

by The Ancient Mariner :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:00am

That would make BB the Hooded Fang (Hoodied Fang?), so . . . yes.

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:00pm

While this may end up being a good trade for both teams, it has the potential to blow up in the Pats' face. The Patriots face some heavy duty interior linemen in the division and outside; the Jets, the Bills and the Bengals come to mind. All it takes is a couple of nasty hits from the Sons of Anarchy or the Williams brothers to end the Patriots chances as a Super Bowl contender as well as their 37 year old quarterback's season.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:06pm

I'd like to think that Belichick would not have traded Mankins if he thought his replacement was significantly more likely to get Brady hurt. Mankins's pass blocking was not particularly good the last two years.

by dryheat :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:06pm

I'd like to think that Belichick would not have traded Mankins if he thought his replacement was significantly more likely to get Brady hurt. Mankins's pass blocking was not particularly good the last two years.

by serutan :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 8:46pm

The Yahoo Shutdown Corner report on this wondered if it was due to Mankins' decline, or worry about Gronk's ability to play {well/at all} this season. Could be both, of course.
Was wr

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 9:39pm

I'm sure it is. To me, this is a boom/bust move, not that Wright will be a bust, but that the risk in letting go of Mankins this early is high, as well as the potential of gaining a Hernandez replacement, as well as Gronk insurance, in Wright. This is the move that propel the Pats, or derail their season. Fun times.

by Ryan Harris :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:17pm

Nothing to do with Gronk. Yes they both are TE's, but if gronk went down it wouldn't be Wright that went in. I really think he will be a WR with the Pats.

by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:04am

He'll be used like a wide receiver, like Dallas Clark or Hernandez, but what he'll help with is improving the yards after catch on short routes, which is perfect for Brady. If they can hold on in the interior line, Brady's numbers will go up to 2011 or 2010 levels. Obviously, Wright can't replace Gronk as a blocker, but he is another huge reliable target. Last year, without Gronk, the Pats' pass offense was a mess. When/if Gronk gets hurt this year, their pass offense won't fall apart that much.

by BucKai :: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 9:48pm

I have Doug Martin & Gronk on my fantasy team so the former's stock went up & the latter's has an "!*?" temporarily assigned.

by Lyford :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 8:14am

I don't know enough about Pro Football Focus' statistics and tracking to say that this is entirely correct, but I think it's pretty clear that the Patriots agree with the basic premise of this piece, that there's a significant disconnect between Mankins' cost and Mankins' value.


"2. Logan Mankins, Left Guard

Mankins signed a contract extension three seasons ago that made him the highest-paid guard at the time. His contract remains the second-highest in average per year, but his play has taken a dip over the last couple seasons largely as he plays through injuries. His performance has still been positive (+12.0 in 2013), but nowhere near elite status like he is being paid. He set to count over $10 million against the cap again in each of the next two years. Unless Mankins, who turns age 32 tomorrow, is able to regain some of his elite form, he will likely remain among the most overpaid on the Patriots’ roster for a third straight season.

2013 Cap Hit: $10m
2013 Jahnke Value Model: $4.2m
Value Differential: -$5.8m"

(Emphasis mine.)

I am definitely not of the "Bill can do no wrong camp." But I recognize that there are situations where I've got nowhere near enough information to make an informed criticism, and this is one of those cases. One of the reasons that the Patriots have been consistently good for the last 14 years is that Belichick is an economist. I don't see much, if any, evidence that he's any better at talent evaluation and prediction than anyone else, but he's very good and disciplined at allocating his resources.

This move may be a mistake, because it may be that Mankins was enough better than any of the replacement alternatives to justify the cost of keeping him on the roster. But it's not inconceivable that the replacement will weaken the run blocking slightly while improving the pass blocking, and on the whole, the offense won't suffer. Since I can imagine a scenario where this improves the team as a whole, and don't have enough information to argue convincingly against it, I am left without a good reason to condemn it. Not exactly, "in Bill we trust;" more like "Bill definitely knows more than I do and I hope he's right..."

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:23am

overthecap also had Mankins as the worst contract on the team for the last two years and getting rid of him will save them a good load, but those dollars won't help block anyone this year.

Who, me?

by RickD :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:36am

Exactly. The timing of the move is terrible. The cap space won't help the Pats win any games in 2014.

by Lyford :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:17pm

"The timing of the move is terrible."

The timing may well have been dictated by what they've seen during the pre-season. It might well be that they've looked at everything that's happened and decided that Mankins is nearly done, or that they've got more guards who can give them essentially the same performance at much lower cost, and that made him expendable. It may be that they look at him as their 3rd or 4th best guard at this point (I don't know that, I don't claim that, but they might think so), in which case this is their last opportunity to actually get something for him before the season starts and everyone else learns it, too.

"The cap space won't help the Pats win any games in 2014."

That's certainly true*. But Wright might, and it's very possible that a Patriot offense with Devey or Cannon or Kline or Halapio and Wright is as good as, or even better than, a Patriot offense with Mankins. And as far as protecting Brady goes, it seemed to me as if Mankins gave up a lot of sacks last year. I'm not convinced that the line in general, and the pass protection in particular, is made worse by this move. I know that there were times in the past where I've watched Mankins and been very impressed, but those times aren't in the recent past.

Now, maybe all of the problems that I thought he was having last year were because he was playing through injuries, and maybe they were the result of him covering for inadequate play beside him, and maybe he just had an off-year and will be a dominant, elite guard this year. I don't know, and I'm not claiming to know. Nor am I claiming that this is a great move. What I am claiming is that a) this is a scenario in which the team has a lot better information about both Mankins and his potential replacements than I do and b) as a fan who wants his team to be good every year, I am philosophically in favor of moving on before player's performance crashes rather than after and c) a salary cap league requires that players justify their contracts because you can't just throw more money at the roster. Given all of that, I think it's very possible that this is a good move, and it's very possible that it's a bad move, and it's very likely that it doesn't affect their season much one way or the other, and I'm not claiming that I know which it will be. I see the justification, and therefore, cannot condemn it in the strong terms that others are using to do so.

* - Actually, it's probably true, rather than certainly true. Things happen during the course of a season, players get hurt and need to be replaced, and this might allow them to make a move that they would not otherwise have had the cap space for.

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:35pm

If Wright plays at a level of 80% Aaron Hernandez, I'll concede that I was wrong to question the Mighty Hoodie.

I agree that Makins has slipped as a pass blocker. But apparently he was still good enough to be the starting LG. Who will take over now? I think the best we can hope for is Cannon at LG, Connolly at RG, and Stork or Wendell at C (hopefully Stork, but he's injured). Maybe Cannon is, right now, a better pass blocker than Mankins. OTOH, Mike Reiss (Pats' beat reporter) thinks Cannon is better suited at tackle. Who will be the left guard?

I read today that giving old rats the blood of younger rats helps reverse (or slow) some of the effects of aging. Maybe somebody can hook up John Hannah with some young blood?

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:45pm

Is it just me, or are other people also bothered by the fact that Sean Payton and Bill Belichick get credit as great coaches for making the playoffs every year with Drew Brees and Tom Brady?

Also, is it just me, or are other people bothered by the attribution of front-office decisions to the head coach?

I'm impressed by John Harbaugh, who frequently makes the playoffs and won a Super Bowl with Joe Flacco. Making the playoffs with Tom Brady is par golf.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:37pm

Funny, reading this thread got me thinking about how many great coaches only remain great as long as certain great players remain active. The typical explanation is the coaches get "old" and the game passes them by, but I wonder.

Who, me?

by BucNasty :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 8:28pm

I think you'd find a lot more takers for the idea that Belichick makes Brady rather than the other way around.

by MJK :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:16pm

Brady haters will always say that he's only good because of Belichick, while Belichick haters will always say he's only good because of Brady.

There are three things that factor, above all else, into winning (or at least going deep into the playoffs)--an elite QB, excellent coaching, or a crew of talented defenders. You need two of the three. Brady hasn't carried Belichick to success, nor vice versa. Having both Brady and Belichick be excellent is why the Pats have succeeded.

Harbaugh is a good coach (although I think his brother is better, personally), but has won because he's been paired with the crew of defenders.

by theslothook :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:17pm

lol which harbaugh are you referring to? They both have won and been paired with a crew of defenders.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:17pm

Presumably he meant John, since he's the one with the Ring and the one mentioned in the OP.

I agree with the above, that people question Brady's ability to function without The Hoodie. I just think they are pretty insane to do that at this point. I agree that Tom Brady would not have been as effective as a journeyman QB than he has been witha purpose-built offense in New England. Every good quarterback is a system quarterback (if they weren't, they wouldn't be consistently good).

But mediocre quarterbacks do not have seasons like Brady's 2007, 2010, 2011, etc.; they do not throw for 4:1, 5:1, 6:1 touchdown:interception ratios for years running, and they do not have historically great quarterback seasons. I was a Tom Brady detractor until 2010. Even 2007 was sort of "but Randy Moss". 2010-12 should convince anyone. He's one of the four best quarterbacks in football (if probably #3 or #4).

So yeah, my view is that Belichick is a long-tenured version of 2007-2010 Jim Caldwell until he wins something without Brady.

by theslothook :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:29pm

I've mentioned above, there are things that BB does that make me believe he's more than just a Jim Caldwell. The offensive lines are usually pretty good as are the running games. That could be a scarnecchia thing, but the Hoodie should get credit for hiring the right people. They also field good special teams on a regular basis and are pretty good in the red zone and on turnovers.

These are all things that have been noticeably absent during Manning's tenure. That to me is an indictment of the coaching staff more than anything else. It's as if Polian gave Manning all the passing offense he wanted and then fell asleep with the rest of the roster. And I'm not convinced caldwell adds anything to a team whatsoever. Sorry Lion fans, but I was dismayed when Caldwell was promoted and ecstatic when he was fired.

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:45pm

Safely ignore this. Move along, nothing to see here.

by Lyford :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:57pm

"...are other people bothered by the attribution of front-office decisions to the head coach?"

Do you have any examples of that? Obviously, in the case of the Patriots, Belichick is the head of football operations and makes all football decisions, so naturally, in this case, it's his decision to trade Mankins.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 3:45pm

I was thinking of S.F.

Of course in New England's case this is inapposite.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:14am

To me that depends how hands-on the headcoach is.

There's definitely a difficulty where
1) when doing contract negotiations you are generally going to talkdown / trivialise some of the achievements of players.
2) when coaching you will be looking to emphasise all the good details to keep players motivated and get team mates to do the same.

If however the headcoach takes a 2013 Joe Philbin approach and just delegates all the communication to assistant coaches then there's probably no issue.

by Purds :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:27pm

So many angles to this story. I was stuck driving two hours yesterday afternoon listening to Boston sports radio (I know, my first mistake), but it doesn't seem that hard to figure out the motivation for the trade from NE's perspective, and I think a lot of posters here are overstating some things. Here's my Colts-biased, living-in-NE take (thus, I hate BB and love to trash him!):

1) The Pats have been churning the TE roster for 6 months, and they don't seem to have anyone they really like other than a Gronk who has not yet been tested in live action. Thus, the need for TE is obvious...some are thinking Wright will be a nice complement, but I think NE is worried that Wright might be the only guy for at least some games. Gronk's recent record is not good in terms of playing a full season, and he's not got the style of play that avoids contact (nor does he seem very bright, and thus doesn't seem to be the guy who will learn from the past and alter his style).

2) Mankins was still NE's best guard. Lots of talk about his decline, and I agree, but those who have posted profootballfocus stats and articles seemed to have missed the new one: they list Mankins as a starter on the "All Preseason Team." That doesn't mean Mankins deserves the $10m hit to NE's cap this season, so you have a top guard who isn't living up to the costs.

3) NE is pretty optimistic about the back up guards. Dropping Mankins saves $6m in cap space, though they are still on the hook for his prorated bonus of $4 this year (and i think next year).

4) Tampa had the opposite problem -- lots of TE's and no guards.

5) Lots of talk that Mankins was asked within the last year to restructure his contract (i.e.: take less money). But, if you remember NE forcing him to play out his full rookie contract, and how pissed he was, it's no stretch to believe he told NE (BB or Kraft) to stick it...they made him play out an unfavorable contract, and he's going to make them play out one, too.

6) Trade gets made.

I don't think BB would make this trade if it were not for three combining factors, a perfect storm you might say: TE needs, a bevy of young (i.e.: cheap contract) guards on the team, and a guy unwilling to give back money. I don't think it's a bad move at all, given all of those factors. The only way this doesn't happen is if NE had paid Mankins back when he deserved the money instead of making him play out his rookie contract. Then they might have been able to get him to buy into the "Patriots Way" of restructuring now that he's not worth $10m per year.

I, of course given my background, do not subscribe to the "BB is god, we trust he knows more than us and always makes the right move." In fact, someone here said this would be good because BB knows so well how to "coach up" players, but we can point to Ocho and Albert and realize that BB is no magic man.

However, I think this is a difficult but necessary trade given all of the factors, and in the end, I think it will be a win-win for both teams. I mean in a purely on-the-field basis, this will be only a slightly negative trade if the NE guards do not pan out, as the improvement of Wright over any other TE besides Gronk on the NE roster will almost counterbalance the drop from Mankins to the NE guards (if the NE talk about the backups is true). However, this becomes a good on-the-field trade if Gronk misses any real time this year. And, throw in the advantageous financials, and it's a pretty positive, though shocking, move for BB. Of course, we can't measure the leadership/toughness thing, but ...

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 5:35am

I wonder how much players taking paycuts depends on them actually winning Super Bowls. Is there anyone other than Brady on the team who has a ring and remembers that initial period of success?

To be honest, I don't blame Mankins for refusing to take the paycut with the Patriots. Reading through the history of his contract negotiations he got mucked about in 2010 the Patriots made him a restricted free agent rather than give him a longterm contract so he held out into the season before signing his tender for $1.54 million. At the time he demanded to be traded, so careful what you wish for ...

by Will Allen :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 8:35am

Unless you are one of the league's most highly paid players already, you're crazy to allow your contract to be voided, and take a paycut, if there is a team out there willing to fulfill it. Yeah, there may be exceptions, but these guys are guaranteed any longevity, and they need to maximize income.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:23am

I don't blame NE for asking and I don't blame Mankins for refusing. It's business.

He was definitely going to be a cap casualty in 2015, so this way they got some return on him. Jury's out on the balance between that return and having him in the lineup *this* season.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:31pm

95 mentions of the Patriots in this thread, about 5 of the Bucs.

Hey, it's just like watching ESPN.

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:27pm

That's because the Patriots are the ones who pulled the trigger on removing a celebrated all-star. The Bucs seemingly gave up comparatively little in exchange. For the record, this seems like a very good move for the Buccaneers, which is rather an amusing thing to say when you look at all the other personnel moves they made this offseason, in terms of dumping talent and losing draft pick value. But yes, Mankins is a significant upgrade for them, and hallelujah, they didn't sign Incognito!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:45pm

Meh, in my opinion it was an incredibly successful offseason; yes, you can't replace Darrelle Revis with another player, but you can replace him with five other players. Revis makes part of the team better, but he was effectively swapped with Verner, Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Brandon Myers, and Evan Dietrich-Smith, and that collective makes the team better in general. Drop down in the secondary, improve in other places. Considering how many holes were on the roster and how many very expensive underperforming offensive linemen they dumped, it was an excellent offseason.

The "loss of draft value" is firmly at the feet of Greg "I am to football coaching what MRSA is to Carl Nicks' foot" Schiano and former GM Mark Dominik.

by MJK :: Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:43pm

To be fair, it's because this is either a "great for both teams" trade, or a "Bucs won this one" trade. No matter how you view things, the Bucs didn't need Wright and REALLY ought to be helped by Mankins, so this trade is a win for them. So there's nothing controversial there, nothing to talk about.

The Pats, on the other hand, made a trade that is highly controversial. Imagine instead a scenario in an alternate universe a year ago where the Bucs have Revis under contract, Doug Martin coming off an injury, and no depth behind him, and they trade Revis with a large contract to the Patriots for Danny Woodhead and a 4th round pick. Then I suspect there would be a lot of talk about the Bucs relative to the Patriots.

by RickD :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:48pm

Get some more Bucs' fans on this board and you can restore the balance.

There have always been a good number of Patriots' fans at FO, starting with Aaron himself.

by NRG :: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:26pm

Given that it saves the Pats many million in salary cap over the next couple of years, the proper question is whether that benefit costs them wins.

*edit -- Hrm, this was intended as a reply, not as a standalone post.