On Tuesday, the first major cut-sown day for the NFL, as teams trim their rosters down to 75 players, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots traded longtime offensive guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end, and Rutgers University product, Tim Wright and a future fourth round draft pick. Here are the SportsZone Trade Grades for each team:

New England: B+

imagesWN5WGVX3Yet again, Belichick let’s go of a longtime piece of his roster as he begins to show sign of age (and the $21.5 million he was due over the next two seasons, second most only to Tom Brady, didn’t help his cause). Mankins, the 32-year-old six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All Pro, joins a list that includes Rodney Harrison, Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, and Mike Vrabel as former staples of the Patriots roster who Belichick preferred to part with possibly one year too early rather than too late. In addition to a future draft pick, Wright does have a chance to provide some much-needed versatility at the tight end position.

Wright was signed by Tampa Bay last preseason as an undrafted free agent, yet he came into the NFL and made a significant impact at the position for the Bucs, tallying 54 receptions for 571 yards and a 10.6 YPC average, along with five receiving touchdowns. He was the top receiving rookie tight end last season for Tampa, and should provide an immediate impact in New England playing in the same set that Aaron Hernandez once played in. Aside from the Patriots adding a receiving threat, they dropped a massive amount of money off of their salary cap space. It will be a wait and see kind of situation with Wright and the Pats, but at this point, it seems like a good move for New England and should provide another weapon for future Hall Of Famer, Tom Brady.

Tampa Bay: B

mankIn addition to being pushed down the pecking order with Austin Sefarian-Jenkins now in the fold, Tampa still had enough with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Doug Martin that they could afford to get rid of an excess piece to shore up their offensive line. After being so underwhelmed by their in-house options on the line, Lovie Smith had Richie Incognito in for a tryout on Monday, before being handed what they can only consider a gift from above in the former Pro Bowler Mankins. The Bucs needed to add a star to their offensive line because they will be more of a run first team with Doug Martin returning from injury, in addition to protecting expected starting quarterback Josh McCown. Martin in his rookie season, only averaged 4.6 YPC, but saw a significant drop off in his 6 games last year, to 3.6 YPC, including only one rushing touchdown.


This was a good trade for both teams, as the Patriots added an offensive weapon for Brady that should help their offense significantly and also got to strip money off of their cap space. In return, Tampa got a very good player, who wasn’t happy in New England (contract dispute in 2010) in Logan Mankins who will help shore up their run game and possibly give them a push to compete for a wild card spot.

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