Yesterday, Bill Belichick once again shocked the football world by trading All-Pro guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Greg Bedard of the Monday Morning Quarterback says that on the surface the trade was shocking, but when you look at the big picture, the move is consistent with Bill Belichick's philosophy. Bedard believes the biggest factor was Mankins' contract and the Patriots chose to sell high before the pro-bowl guard's play began to drop even more than it already has.
"As you saw with Vince Wilfork having his contract redone after a faceoff, the Patriots aren't going to pay unless they think you're playing to that contract," writes Bedard. "Mankins' play had slipped the past three years. While he was still one of the best run-blocking guards in the league, his pass blocking had taken a hit, most likely because of assorted leg injuries."
The Boston.com's Chad Finn says that Mankins departure is both surprising and not surprising at the same time. When the news broke yesterday, everyone around New England was shocked, but Finn says that ultimately the trade makes sense and he applauds Belichick for his pragmatic approach.
"Moving on from Mankins doesn't suggest a half-hearted commitment to winning this year. It suggests there is prime-of-career talent the Patriots are intent on keeping around," writes Finn, referring to Darrelle Revis.
While many around New England disagree with the move, John Tomase of the Boston Herald says that the Red Sox can learn from the Patriots' coldblodded approach. Tomase suggests that if Bill Belichick were in the Red Sox front office, Dustin Pedroia may be on the trading block -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. While Pedroia remains a Gold Glove-caliber player in the field, his offensive numbers have slipped in each of the past four seasons, and at 31, he's not getting any younger.
"Second baseman Mookie Betts, meanwhile, has young legs, a short, quick swing and surprising power. Betts is by no means a sure thing, but on a team like the Patriots, he'd be the future," explains Tomase. "On the Red Sox, he's either going to learn the outfield or be traded, because Pedroia's not going anywhere."
In the wake of yesterday's trade, Boston.com posted a photo gallery of the Patriots biggest trades during the Belichick era. Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, and Corey Dillon were three of the thirteen names on the list. Click here to find out what other trades made the cut.
As for the player the Patriots got in return, Comcast SportsNet and Phil Perry have you covered. The Patriots' newest tight end, Tim Wright, caught 54 passes for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns last year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Early last preseason, Wright made the move from wide receiver, the position he played in college, to tight end. He played all over Tampa Bay's formations last season as more of a "move" tight end, and he showed an ability to be productive as a receiver in the slot," says Perry.
For more on Wright, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald joined the set of CSN's "Early Edition" to talk about what the Patriots can expect of the second-year tight end. He believes that Wright can make an impact on the offense and will likely be used in a way that's similar to how Aaron Hernandez was used.
"Last year when Gronkowski wasn't on the field, their tight ends not named Gronk caught, I think 14 passes," says Howe. "If for some reason Gronk is not ready for week one, or he goes down again along the way, at least they'll know they'll have somebody over the middle they can throw the ball to."
Tim Wright is just the latest of many Rutgers alumni who have joined the ranks under Bill Belichick. CBS Boston's Andrew Celani listed 11 past and present Patriots who came from Rutgers University. Currently the team has five former Scarlet Knight's on their roster.