Mankins' Tampa Bay introduction likely Thursday: With Mankins scheduled to arrive in Tampa later Wednesday night, his official Buccaneers introduction isn't expected to take place until Thursday. Tampa Bay hosts Washington in its preseason finale Thursday night, so Mankins' introduction figures to trump any action on the field.
Sides had discussed contract situation: One of the questions that came up after the trade is whether the Patriots and Mankins' representatives had discussed a reworked contract before the deal. Mankins was due to earn a base salary of $6.25 million this season, $6.75 million in 2015 and another $6.75 million in 2016; discussions would have included some type of concession from Mankins similar to what unfolded with defensive lineman Vince Wilfork earlier in the offseason. As others have reported, the issue was indeed discussed privately between Patriots management and Mankins' representatives. This adds context to the surprising nature of the trade itself, as the contract (more so than the assets received in return) appeared to be a primary catalyst for the deal.
Leadership, enforcer-type mentality now missing: I think the Patriots, Buccaneers and most independent observers would agree that while Mankins might no longer have been playing at an elite level, he was still effective. His presence will make an offensive line better. It's more than the play that I think the Patriots will miss most; it's the leadership and enforcer-type mentality. Mankins brought a toughness, attitude, and you're-not-going-to-mess-with-us type approach to the field that is going to be hard to duplicate. I don't see anyone on the current Patriots' line who could fill that void right now.
Different dynamic for new offensive line coach to work with: One final thing that probably shouldn't be overlooked is how the Patriots' linemen have been adjusting to a new coach, Dave DeGuglielmo, this year. I think that has been more of a challenge for some players than might be perceived, as assistant Dante Scarnecchia was widely regarded as one of the game's best teachers. Now with Mankins out of the mix, it only further adds to what has been a major transition with the team. This bears watching in the weeks to come.