Logan Mankins' future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is secure, if it's up to Jason Licht -- and it is. The Bucs' general manager called the left guard "one of the solutions" in a large profile of Mankins by Jackie MacMullan for ESPN.
"He's the first one in the meeting room, teaching these guys how to study the right way," Jason Licht said. "He holds them accountable without having to say a word. He gives them 'the look' and that's enough."
"We've had some issues [on the offensive line], but he's not one of them. He's one of the solutions."
Meanwhile, MacMullan notes that Lovie Smith will name Mankins a captain in 2015. "I picture him going forward as one of our leaders," the Bucs head coach said. "When he talks, everyone listens. As rewarding as what he accomplished in New England has been, to help Tampa Bay become the up-and-coming franchise we believe it can be will be just as valuable for him."
Those are fairly surprising statements. The Bucs gave up promising young tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick for Logan Mankins, who's earning $7 million per year. That's a lot to give up for a player who, on the field, turned out to be a bit of a liability in pass protection. Mankins certainly wasn't all that was wrong with Tampa Bay's offensive line, but he wasn't exactly bedrock either -- and given his exhorbitant price tag, calling him "one of the solutions" sounds a little premature.
At the same time, Mankins' leadership and impact on the rest of the offensive line appears to be playing a role in this decision. Demar Dotson has high praise for the left guard, noting that he helped him transition to left tackle with better communication than anyone he's played with.
Mankins' play this year wasn't great and he's clearly declining on the field, which is no surprise at the age of 32. But he's good enough to be a starter on a productive offensive line, and his leadership is apparently so invaluable that the Bucs aren't even contemplating moving on from him.