TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed a need to upgrade their struggling offensive line by obtaining six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins from the New England Patriots for tight end Tim Wright and a draft pick.
The deal Tuesday came less than 24 hours after the Bucs met with Richie Incognito to try to determine if one of the central figures in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal might be an answer to their problems at guard.
General manager Jason Licht said he felt fortunate to obtain the 32-year-old Mankins, but did not rule out the possibility of signing Incognito, too.
Asked where things stood with Incognito, coming off a suspension for his role in last season’s bullying scandal, the GM replied the free agent guard remains an “option.”
“We are always going to leave options open for players we think fit in the locker room and can also be good players for us,” Licht said. “I wouldn’t put an end to (prospect of signing Incognito). That’s one of several options out there right now.”
Mankins was a first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2005 and has been selected for the Pro Bowl each of the past five seasons. He’s appeared in two Super Bowls and started all 130 regular season games and 17 postseason games he’s played in during a nine-year stay with New England.
Wright is a second-year pro who started eight games as a rookie in 2013, finishing with 54 receptions for 571 yards and five touchdowns.
“We feel very fortunate. Logan is a very good player. … His play on the field speaks for itself,” Licht said. “He’s going to be great for that (locker) room.”
The Bucs will enter the season with at least four new starters on the offensive line, including both guards. Oniel Cousins and Patrick Omameh were listed as the starters before the trade for Mankins.
Despite a productive rookie year, Wright became expendable after Licht and coach Lovie Smith signed veteran tight end Brandon Myers in free agency and then selected Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round of the draft.