According to reports from various outlets including ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots are sending starting guard Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay in exchange for a fifth-round pick. The move comes on the heels of Ted Karras' signing with the Bengals and now leaves the Patriots with two starting spots to fill along the interior of their line.
Michael Onwenu, who played right tackle as a rookie and split time between left guard and right tackle in his second season, could return to his college position in replacement of Mason. Yasir Durant and Will Sherman are the next down the current depth chart, as guard moves up on the positions of need.
The move adds a seventh total pick in the draft but also opens up a sizable chunk of cap space that should translate into additional signings on the free-agent market. Needing to become cap compliant by 4pm Wednesday, trading Mason quickly ensures it, but it comes at a cost.
Mason was their best and most consistent offensive lineman and his departure will be a tough hole to fill, especially as Mac Jones looks to develop in year two. He'll need consistent protection, especially up the middle. David Andrews' presence should ease the transition and Onwenu would seem to solve at least one of the starting spots but it's tough to say goodbye to another proven vet.
Patriots updated projected draft picks:
- 1st, 21st overall
- 5th (from TB)
- 6th (from LAR)