TAMPA — The last 48 hours have been a blur for Logan Mankins.
He woke up Tuesday as a member of the Patriots, just like he has for the last nine years. But his life was turned upside down that afternoon when he was traded to Tampa Bay for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick.
He finally arrived in Tampa on Thursday morning, and met with reporters before last night’s game against Washington, looking a bit odd in a white and red Buccaneers hat.
“Still taking it in. It’s different,” Mankins said. “I’m still taking it all in. I just got the playbook today and so I’m running through that as well with a bunch of the guys. Had questions for them. We’ll find out more in the next week or so.”
Mankins said he was somewhat surprised the Patriots traded him after nine seasons and 130 starts, but not really, considering how many players have previously been shipped out of town.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen the way it did. But it’s not a shocker,” he said. “Once you’ve been around this business long enough, anything is a possibility. It’s a business first and foremost. Guys play it because they love it, but it is a business, and if you don’t understand that it’s a business, you’re lying to yourself. You have to be prepared for whatever happens in this league at any time.”
Mankins, due to make a $6.25 million salary this year, said he and the Patriots couldn’t find common ground on a contract restructure, which led to a trade. Mankins had a history of playing hardball with the Patriots, sitting out seven games in 2011 to get a new contract.
“We had discussions and couldn’t come to a common ground. So they made the move they did,” Mankins said.
Bill Belichick, speaking on the team’s radio show before Thursday’s game against the Giants, didn’t provide much insight into the trade.
“It’s a situation that in the end didn’t work out,” Belichick said.
Team president Jonathan Kraft, also speaking on the pregame show, said Mankins deserves to one day be in both the Patriots and Pro Football hall of fames. Kraft defended the trade several times, saying the move was not made simply to save money. In addition to saving about $13 million in salary over the next two years, the trade created about $12 million in cap space over the same time frame.
Kraft didn’t, though, give a full explanation as to why the Patriots felt it necessary to trade their most veteran offensive lineman 10 days before the season opener.
“I think it’s safe to assume that the $6 million-$7 million in cap space will be fully spent,” Kraft said. “And we believe it will be spent strategically and in a way that makes our football team a stronger, deeper football team.”
Mankins was asked if he thinks his level of play has slipped in recent years.
“How many guys have played 150 games and are still on the upswing?” said Mankins, 32. “I’ve played a lot of games, a lot of snaps. But I think I’ve still got something to give this game, this team. I’ll try my hardest.”
Mankins said he spoke with Tom Brady and most of his former teammates before leaving for Tampa Bay. Brady was reportedly upset at the move, and the trade hit the entire locker room hard. Mankins had been a fixture on the Patriots line since they took him in the first round in 2005.
“Yeah I’ve talked to [Brady]. I’ve talked to probably 99 percent of the team,” he said. “I’m not going to get into what we said. We were good friends. We spent a lot of time, a lot of years together. I’ll miss Tom for sure. I’ll miss a lot of those guys. I have a lot of good friends there. A lot of coaches I was good friends with. It’s a sad day to not be with those guys. But I’ve got new teammates here I’m looking to develop relationships with and I’ll see how it goes.”
Mankins took the high road when asked about his memories with the Patriots.
“I had a lot of great ones. Had a lot of fun there. Had a lot of rough memories and great ones, too,” he said. “It’s a place I’ll always remember and I have nothing bad to say about New England. I love that place. I’m moving on.”