Everyone's still a little shocked by the Patriots' trade of six-time Pro-Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers in exchange for TE Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick. But if you were taken aback, imagine how the guy who's been protected by Mankins for the past nine seasons must feel.
According to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole (via PFT), Tom Brady "had a very emotional reaction" when he learned of the Mankins deal. Cole says that Brady "was not happy" and "was very upset about this trade."
Brady's been down this road before, of course. He's seen his receivers stripped away in the name of cutting costs, and again, it's emerged that Mankins was shipped out of town over his refusal to take a pay cut. Mankins has three years left on his deal, with cap hits of $10.5M, $11M, and $7M.
As of last year, three Patriots—Brady, Mankins, and Vince Wilfork—accounted for a whopping 35 percent of the team's salary cap space. Brady's contract was reworked to give him more short-term money while spreading out his cap hit. Wilfork's deal, too, was eventually restructured, but only after negotiations got so contentious he asked for his release. That left Mankins, whose camp had been holding negotations with the Patriots since February about a reworked deal. No agreement was reached, so out he goes.
If there really is a Patriot Way, this is it: an unsentimental willingness to hard-assedly negotiate with beloved players in the name of keeping costs down, and to never allow them to call your bluff. In a salary cap league, it's certainly the only way to do business—but eventually there has to come a point where it becomes unsustainable. And testing the patience of the greatest player in franchise history by repeatedly selling off all his favorite toys doesn't sound like it'll end well. Still, the Patriots again receive the benefit of the doubt even though they haven't won dick in a decade.