The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick to grab a former All-Pro offensive guard. What does this mean going forward?
This is a short-term fix
Logan Mankins is 32 years old and coming off arguably the worst year in his career. He's still an above-average offensive guard, and certainly an easy improvement over any guard already on the Bucs' roster, but he's also started his decline. In a couple of years, Mankins will no longer be a viable starter. So this trade is all about getting through the near future.
Meanwhile, the Bucs will hope that one of their two fifth-round picks of Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards can develop into a capable starting lineman down the line. Neither has cracked the starting lineup this preseason, with Pamphile playing mostly left tackle and Edwards predominantly left guard. Trading for Mankins gives them a little extra time to develop these players without being forced to throw them into the lineup before they're ready.
Don't count out Richie Incognito, yet
Logan Mankins is a terrific player, but he can only play one position at a time while the Bucs have needs at both left and right guard. His natural position is left guard, but the Bucs still have issues at right guard where Patrick Omameh has been starting the past two preseason games. It's possible that Rishaw Johnson will take up the right guard spot. The Bucs traded for Johnson a few days ago, but he hasn't had much time to acclimate to his new surroundings and earn a starting job.
One important note is that Jason Licht refused to rule out signing Incognito in his post-trade press conference. This trade and the previous trade for Johnson obviously makes it less likely that they do sign him, but not entirely impossible.
They can't afford to sign or trade for another expensive player
Logan Mankins' contract will give him $6.5 million in salary this year, and $7 million each of the next two years. He's probably worth that, though perhaps a little less would be more prudent, but that's the salary the Bucs are stuck with.
This leaves them with just $6.9 million in cap space right now, and they'll need most of that to pay for various bonuses. That includes a total of $1.15 million in per-game roster bonuses for Connor Barth, $1 million when the full roster is counted against the salary cap, rather than the top 51 players as is the case now, and a few million more for in-season replacements and
This won't stand in the way of a contract extension for Gerald McCoy, though. He already counts for $15.6 million against the current cap, and any new contract will likely see his cap hits limited to future years.
Roster cuts will be interesting
The Bucs will now have to make some interesting choices at offensive guard once the cutdowns start. Oniel Cousins and Patrick Omameh have started the past two games at guard, but neither has looked good. Jamon Meredith is a versatile backup who can play both tackle and guard, while they will also want to hang on to draft picks and backup linemen Kevin Pamphile and Kadeem Edwards. None of whom can play center, mind you, so they probably want to hang on to backup center Josh Allen, too.We haven't even touched on Rishaw Johnson, who they traded for a few days ago.
Generally speaking, teams keep eight or nine linemen on the roster. Their starting five, and two or three versatile backups. We know four of the five starting linemen, which leaves four or five roster spots for seven linemen. The Bucs will have to make some tough choices, and they will all have to make a very good impression during the final preseason game on Thursday.
Luke Stocker is making the roster
Much-maligned fourth-year tight end Luke Stocker has gotten a lot of playing time as a blocking tight end in the preseason. With Tim Wright out of the way, his roster spot is basically guaranteed -- as is that of Brandon Myers, who may have been in a battle with Wright. Now even fourth-string Cameron Brate has a chance to stick on the roster, as the Bucs do like a tight-end-heavy offense.