Changing of the guard

Hope that title wasn’t used yet in any publications or anything relating to the Logan Mankins trade.  I’m sure it has been, but I haven’t seen it.  So I am just going to consider myself clever for coming up with it and leave it at that.  I’ll let everyone else form their own opinions about it.

Sssssoooo…after processing this trade for a day and a half, my initial inclination still stands.  I don’t love it, but can see why it happened.  And I don’t think it makes the Patriots a better team right this second.  But I don’t think it will kill them either.

Logan was a leader on this team, no question.  Carried a lot of weight in that locker room.  Captain.  Long-time veteran.  Perennial All-Pro.  Etc.  But made a lot of money for an offensive guard.  Was aging, though guards seem to play longer than most other positions, I will allow.  And his play had slipped a bit, though I will also allow he was still pretty damn good.  Or seemed to be anyway, I don’t have tangible proof of that, based on the fact that I watch zero game tape like Jaws does and therefore really don’t analyze all the offensive line play.  Maybe he really wasn’t an All-Pro anymore, but still seemed to be reliable, at the absolute worst.  Notice how I am not mentioning how he has all these Pro Bowls to his credit…talk about a joke selection process, especially for offensive linemen.  They can get in every year based on reputation.  So let’s leave that talk alone.

I always thought the salary thing would get in the way after this upcoming season.  I mean, the Patriots had the cap room this year to cover him.  Shoot, they may have even had the cap room to cover him next year, with Brady’s salary going down and the cap rising, among other factors.  But if you factor in Brady probably renegotiating to a higher cap figure, guys like Devin McCourty needing to be re-signed, and of course the whole Darelle Revis most assuredly needing to get paid to stay next year and beyond…then Mankins cap hit in 2015 would likely be a problem.

But now?  Should’ve been able to carry him.  Especially when the offensive line has a huge amount of question marks already.  I think the retirement of Dante Scarnecchia is way overplayed in these parts, but the fact does remain that the offensive line coach is new.  Because of that, there will be an adjustment with that transition, no avoiding it.  Brady ain’t getting any younger, so having the best linemen up front is kinda important.  We want the best players, right?  They’d still be able to carry some kids for the future, have Mankins for another year as a reliable lineman and be able to absorb the cap hit.

But that’s the beauty of the Pats sometimes.  They don’t get bogged down in sentimentality…someone that was great for the franchise for several years, even coming up through the system, can be jettisoned at any given time for any given reason, but primarily because they think it will be the best move for the franchise going forward.  They have been known to move on from players “one year too early, instead of one year too late”, correct?  Now, you can debate some of the dudes they have let go and more specifically, the timing of when they were traded/released.  Like in the cases of Deion Branch, Lawyer Milloy and Richard Seymour most notably.  The timing of those three moves crushed the locker room.  They were exactly as stated above, longtime Patriot stars that were drafted by the team and developed into superstars (or at least very good, key players) and then were unexpectedly pushed out of town by trade.  Either on the eve of the season, or soon after it started.  But once the players realized they had to move on, did it affect the team?  You could argue Branch’s exit may have, since their WR’s that year were putrid.  But I am not sure the latter two moves affected the team at all.  The Pats weren’t that great the year Seymour was ushered out.  But I’m not sure that had much to do with him personally.

I wonder if the Patriots would have released Logan if a trade wasn’t agreed upon?  Sources were coming out today saying that Tim Wright would have been released by the Bucs by the end of the week.  I’m not sure I buy that, even if he wasn’t exactly fitting into the new system over there.  But it would seem that maybe both guys were on the hot seat, and the partners were a good match.  After all, the Bucs were looking at Richie Incognito!  And Timmy Wright is the new Aaron Hernandez!  Ummmm…ok, I don’t want to hear that comparison again, that goes for on or off the field.  Wright may be a “move” tight end, but let’s pump the brakes on saying he will be A-Hern…slam the brakes actually.  I suppose the return is ok for someone that may have been on the way out anyway.  But that remains to be seen.  Either way, adding another weapon for Brady in the passing game and another draft pick can’t hurt.  They also should be able to replace Mankins on the line, even if it may take a bit.  We are not talking about replacing Brady here folks, it shouldn’t be that bad.

So as stunning as it may have been.  As poor as the timing was.  As pissed off as the players are.  I feel that the Patriots will survive.  Understatement, I know.  But come back to me if the line sucks in Week 13.

Beyond all of this though…and it has been in the back of all of our minds for a while I know…it makes you wonder even more what will happen when the organization one day decides that SOMEONE will be a better quarterback for the New England Patriots than one Tom Brady.  Could it be Jimmy Football as soon as next year?  Especially if Brady squawks at his low base salary at age 38?  Or someone else that comes along (er…not you Ryan Mallett)?  We’re gonna find out soon enough folks.  But you think Branch/Milloy/Seymour/Mankins/etc. were “situations”?  That’ll be a whooooooole new ballgame.





About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on August 28, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The issue I have with the trade of Mankins is that while the Patriots and the “genius” Belichick have weathered the storms when Bill has released the likes of Malloy or moving Seymour is that those mistakes have been masked by the horrible division they play in. And more importantly that they have a QB that can cover up the warts. I think that Bill’s watching the bottom line might have gone a step too far. I realize that Mankins was not the player he once was, no one is after that many seasons. But now you are applying your model to a player that is close to Brady…he lines up a few feet away from your franchise QB ever play.

    Yes he is a guard. Yes every player is replaceable. But I think the genius Patriots might have out smarted themselves this time. They will still win the AFC East, most likely get a bye and a tomato can to beat up in the playoffs. Could very well win the AFC Championship and go to the Super Bowl. But would you feel better with Mankins if you were to face the likes of the Seahawks or 49ers? It feels like once again you cut your nose off to spite your face. You mean to tell me you can’t keep the guard for the season, let him continue to be the anchor for a young offensive line, and then move him or release him after the season?

    The whole “teams as a business” is ridiculous. Yes you don’t want to spend money you don’t have. But if you are looking to milk your teams for massive profit then you are in the wrong “business.” Owners like Kraft, I am sure, make way more money from their real business ventures and the interest from their accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. So “saving” a few million on Mankins seems short sited if that is the primary motivation for the move.

    • Thanks for your comment. Like I said the Patriots are not a better team right now. But by the time they would potentially play an NFC team in the Super Bowl, presumably the line will have been solidified by then. But looking at it that way also discounts any injury that would happen by the time of the SB. What if they kept Mankins and he got hurt and was out for the year in Week 9? Then you have the same problem in the SB as well…if you look at it that way. Probably better to try new line combinations from the start.
      As for saving money on Mankins, I think that’s a different issue. I don’t believe they would keep the money. I believe they will spread that money around for extensions for players whose contracts expire after this year…McCourty, Gostkowski, to name a few…plus reworking other contracts…Revis, Brady, etc. They won’t pocket the money. They’ll spread it around.

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