In response to Muzwell's comment:
As NMPL said, Nink won't be snapping the ball, although it would be great if he could. But, it's too risky. A Mallett trade makes all the sense in the world, unless they don't think Garap can play yet. Logically, don't they have to be thinking that they have just as much of a chance to win with Garap as with Mallett? If so, there's no need to keep both of them, they're redundant.
Beyond LS, there will be other moves. There are always other moves. TE, OL and LB seem like logical areas where an outsider could be brought in.
As for the cap and Mankins, yeah there were cap-related reasons to make the trade - to free cash to spend on deals for McCourty and/or Solder and/or Cannon and maybe Vereen (breakout year, anyone?). But, there were also valid football reasons.
They decided to move on from him because they know they can be just as good or better without him by the end of the year. Fans and media are short term focused, so we look at it and think they're going to have a tough time adjusting. I do expect it to be a process that will take a few weeks to iron out.
Mankins' pass blocking was barely adequate, or maybe even less than that. This "Brady's personal protector" talk is nonsense. What, was he walking him to his car after practice? He wasn't protecting him very well on the football field.
His run blocking was fine, but not like it was five years ago. He's making Pro Bowls on reputation these days. He does bring locker room intangibles and on-field toughness (and penalties). So, on a young team with a terrible OL, he'll help.
As for the Pats, they'll be just as good at LG by midseason as they were last year and perhaps sooner than that, and maybe even a lot better than that. And, they get a new weapon in the passing game, an element that was missing, and a 4th round pick.
I don't think they have a single regret about that trade, personal feelings aside.
I'm not certain of that. It's possible, of course, but this list of OL includes a lot of untested guards--and the tested ones (Wendell and Connolly) aren't Pro Bowl caliber.
- Barker, Chris
- Cannon, Marcus
- Connolly, Dan
- Devey, Jordan
- Fleming, Cameron
- Kline, Josh
- Solder, Nate
- Stork, Bryan
- Vollmer, Sebastian
- Wendell, Ryan
I've read the story about moving Vollmer to guard. That sounds like a bit of a desperation move to me, if true. Vollmer is very tall to play guard. Maybe it works, but can he get low enough against the interior D linemen he'll be facing? It strikes me as an interesting experiment--but I can't say I'm confident it will work. I don't think Kline has played better than Mankins--in either the pass or run game. And the rest are all very green.
I'd also argue with the claim that Mankins has declined that much. He was excellent most of the time last year. Yes, he sometimes struggles with quick interior pass rushers--his lateral movement is not his strong point and he tends to play in a phone booth--but he generally is very effective not only in stopping his man, but more important, in helping clean up when other guys get beat. He helped out Solder a lot on the left side. It will be interesting to see whether Solder's blocking looks worse without Mankins alongside him. Mankins also took on his man singly a lot, while Connolly and Wendell often double teamed a single rusher. How does that dynamic look if the blocker in Mankin's spot isn't as good?
I think we're a little naive to think letting an All-Pro talent like Mankins go won't have a negative effect in the short term. As I said, I think the deal is a good one, but there's no reason to pretend it doesn't have some real downsides too.