FOXBORO — For the former Patriots teammates of Logan Mankins, Tuesday was harder than any offseason or training camp practice they’ve had this season.

After their first practice without the six-time Pro Bowl left guard, they came off the field and had to face the reality that the business side of the NFL and the Patriots had hit home. Mankins’ locker was in tact along with some team equipment but his teammates were left to answer questions about his sudden departure to Tampa Bay.

“He’s the type of guy you don’t know if get that type of teammate ever again,” safety Devin McCourty said. “He’s a tough guy. The different injuries he’s played through, being out there every snap, every chance he could get. When I got here, he wasn’t at here at first because he was home and he missed first couple of games. He came back and you could see the difference up front in how everybody played. He went to the Pro Bowl in a half-year. I think that just spoke volumes about a guy who you just see his leadership stand out as soon as he steps on the field.

“Since I’ve been here, he’s a guy you look up to, and I’m a defensive back and that’s watching the offensive line. Tampa is going to get one helluva player, and guy.”

McCourty the player then spoke like McCourty a team captain.

“There are some things you can’t control. You just accept,” he added. “It’s tough, it’s tough. You just tell yourself, and it starts the older guys on the team, you have to go out there and play. You can’t just sit there and sulk or be disappointed in your mind. You just have to go out there and play and make sure the younger and go about it and play and follow your lead. That’s the way I looked at today.

“This time of year is difficult. When we have 90 guys, whether it’s a guy like Travis Hawkins, in my room every day asking me a bunch of questions, working his tail off. Coach says it every year, this is a tough time for everybody. Coaches don’t like making these decisions. This one felt a little bit more because of the type of player Logan was and how long he’s been here.”

Mankins is gone to Tampa Bay for tight end Tim Wright and a 2015 fourth-round pick. Matthew Slater is another Patriots player who, like Mankins, has served as a captain before. He admitted that once the team was informed by Bill Belichick of the trade before practice Tuesday, it was tough going about business.

“It is difficult,” Slater said. “You know a guy for a number of years, you get to know his family, his kids, and that makes it tough. There is always a human element involved. We signed up to do a job here, and we understand what that job entails, and we understand what comes along with that, but at the same time, you can’t separate yourself from the human element, and the emotions and feelings that come along with it.

“I think we’ll definitely have to be very mentally tough during this time, because Logan brought a lot in the department of leadership, a lot in the department in toughness. He brought a lot in a lot of departments. So we have to be mentally tough, we have to understand that Coach Belichick is always going to do what he thinks is best for the football team, and we just have to be resilient and move forward and there’s still a job to be done. That’s what we’re here to do.”

Several offensive linemen declined comment, understandably sensitive to the dramatic change in the locker room. But Nate Solder, suddenly a leader on the offensive line, was one of those who did speak.

“Man, what an awesome guy. What an awesome player. So honored to play with that guy. So honored to get to know him and his family,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about him. Him and his family, he has great morals, great ethics, a great work ethic. He’s a tremendous guy and is going to be great wherever he goes. So for the Patriots, we move on, as sad as that is. It’s exciting, too, we move on to the thrills of the season.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Patriots announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday to meet the mandatory NFL cutdown to a 75-man roster.

The Patriots announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday to meet the mandatory NFL cutdown to a 75-man roster.

They released six players: defensive lineman Ben Bass, defensive back Travis Hawkins, wide receiver Derrick Johnson, linebacker Deontae Skinner, defensive back Jemea Thomas and wide receiver Wilson Van Hooser. They also placed running back Tyler Gaffney and linebacker Cameron Gordon on injured reserve.

Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:

Bass, 24, was acquired by the Patriots in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for DB Justin Green on August 15, 2014. He originally joined the Cowboys in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder spent most of the 2012 season on the Cowboys’€™ practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 13, 2013. Bass appeared in two games as a rookie before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 1, 2012. He went to training camp with the Cowboys in 2013 but was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season.

Hawkins, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Delaware on May 12, 2014. Hawkins transferred to Delaware after two seasons at Maryland. The 5-10, 195-pounder, had 66 total tackles, four interceptions and eight passes defensed last season and was named first-team all-conference in 2013.

Johnson, 22, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Maine on May 19, 2014. He was released by the Patriots on June 9, 2014 and then re-signed on July 18, 2014. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder tied for the team lead with 60 receptions for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. Johnson finished his college career with 116 receptions for 1,165 yards and four touchdowns.

Skinner, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State on May 12, 2014. He was a three-year starter at Mississippi State. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder first earned a starting position at linebacker as a sophomore in 2011.

Thomas, 24, was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 206th selection overall out of Georgia Tech. It was the third of three 2014 sixth-round selections by the Patriots. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder played 54 games, tying for the most in Georgia Tech history, and he played every position in the secondary. Thomas finished his career with 234 total tackles ad nine interceptions

Van Hooser, 23, was originally signed by the patriots as a rookie free agent out of Troy on May 27, 2014. He transferred to Troy for the 2013 season after beginning his college career at Tulane. The 6-foot, 195-pounder was a three-year letter winner for Tulane, finishing with 55 receptions for 805 yards and nine touchdowns. Last season at Troy, he played in 10 games and finished with 13 receptions for 188 yards and two touchdowns and returned 15 kicks for 237 yards.

Gaffney, 23, was claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots from the Carolina Panthers on July 28, 2014. He was originally drafted by Carolina in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (204th overall) out of Stanford. Gaffney was injured in training camp and was released by the Panthers on July 27, 2014. The 6-foot, 220-pounder, had a productive senior season in 2013, starting in all 14 games and finishing with 330 rushing attempts for 1,709 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Gaffney played as a true in 2009 and then took the 2012 season off to play professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league

Gordon, 23, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Michigan on May 12, 2014. He was a four-year letter winner at Michigan, who appeared in 45 games with 15 starts at linebacker. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder began his career as a wide receiver as a redshirt in 2009 before being moved to safety in 2010 and linebacker in 2011.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Logan Mankins carved out an impressive legacy in his nine years with New England.</p>
<div class=



The Patriots have confirmed the trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay, and released a statement from head coach Bill Belichick on the move:

The Patriots have confirmed the trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay, and released a statement from head coach Bill Belichick on the move:

“€œLogan Mankins is everything we would ever want in a football player.  It is hard to imagine a better player at his position, a tougher competitor or a person to represent our program.  He is one of the all-time great Patriots and the best guard I ever coached.  Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate.  Unfortunately, this is the time of year when difficult decisions have to be made — and this is one of the most difficult we will ever make — but like every other decision it was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Tight end Tim Wright (81) is the newest passing option for Tom Brady. (Getty Images)

Tight end Tim Wright (81) is the newest passing option for Tom Brady. (Getty Images)

Along with acquiring an undisclosed draft pick (fourth-rounder according to Adam Schefter) when they traded Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers on Tuesday, the Patriots also received second-year tight end Tim Wright.

Wright, who played at Rutgers as a receiver, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buccaneers following last year’€™s draft.

While at Rutgers he played for head coach Greg Schiano in 2011 and also last year in Tampa. (It should be noted Schiano has been around Bill Belichick and the Patriots quite a bit this year, including at the combine and at a few training camp practices.)

In his two seasons at Rutgers, Wright caught 50 passes for 596 yards and four touchdowns, including 39 catches for 449 yards as a senior in 2012. After going undrafted, he signed with the Buccaneers roughly 30 minutes after the 2013 draft.

“I got to choose it and I was like, ‘I have to go down there with Coach Schiano,’” Wright said to NJ.com following the draft. “Those guys were showing me a lot of interest and they know what I can do, so I chose to go there.”

Wright was moved to tight end and played in all 16 games with Tampa Bay last year, starting in eight and finished with 54 catches for 571 yards and five touchdowns.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Wright’€™s 73 pass reception percentage was fifth among tight ends last season (min. 50 targets).

Tampa Bay was openly not pleased with Wright earlier this preseason.

“I’ll just kind of jump on where he’s been. He hasn’t played as well as he should be playing,” Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said on Aug. 18. “He’s dropped some balls. If you’ve been watching him at practice, he’s dropped balls. He’s a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two-tight end set. Tim hasn’t blocked as well inside.

“Once you’re that H-back and you don’t block, now they just say you’re another receiver and teams start going nickel against you. But if they do that, you have to at least be a good pass catcher. And Tim is a good player, he just hasn’t played as well as he needs to lately.”

Currently the Patriots have three tight ends on the roster besides Wright in Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and Steve Maneri.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Logan Mankins was regarded as one of the toughest Patriots in history. (Getty Images)

Logan Mankins was regarded as one of the toughest Patriots in history. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — For as much praise as Bill Belichick has always heaped on Logan Mankins, the Pro Bowl left guard knew, even back in April, that nothing lasts forever in the NFL.

During a media availability shortly after players began working out again, Mankins spoke as one of the captains on the team and what his long-term future in New England might hold.

“I don’t know,” the 32-year-old Mankins said at the time. “Some guys probably think they’re going to have this long, great career. I’ve been very fortunate. No catastrophic injuries and have been lucky enough to stay with one team this entire time and play for a great head coach, a great organization and a lot of great teammates.

“It’s been a fun ride and hopefully, it lasts a few more years. I don’t know. I think I’ve been truly lucky.”

On Tuesday, that ride came to an end when he and his $10 million cap number were dealt to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for low-cost tight end Tim Wright, who is only 24 and makes $500,000 annually, and a fourth-round draft pick. Again, Mankins seemed to have a keen sense of foreshadowing at the time.

“It’s a business and if you don’t think it’s a business, you’re lying to yourself about that,” Mankins said. “The team, they want good players but they want to make money, too. That’s their job. They’re just not here to hand out money to everyone. Players want to make what they think they’re able to make. It always comes down to a little bit of compromise from both ends.”

Asked what he thought of his performance in 2013, Mankins said his opinion wasn’t the most important one.

“It never matters what I think,” Mankins said in April. “It’s always what Bill thinks. To me, his opinion and my O-Line coach’s opinions are really the only ones that matter. So, as along as he hasn’t fired me yet. I think it went all right.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

Today I want to provide our readers with some late-round ammo, and we will focus our targets to fit the various league sizes in which our readers compete. Now, while I like to think that all of us play in competitive 12-team formats, I know that forming leagues can be difficult and sometimes we have to settle for eight or 10 or whatever we can come up with.

The objective is to identify the late-round talent to target for various league size based on ADP data over the last few weeks. I’€™m focusing on players who have the potential to become steals and perform far better than their draft position would indicate. You can gain a big edge by nailing a few of these picks, and the risk is next to nothing because of the predictable strength of the waiver wire in 2014.

The ADP (sourced from myfantasyleague.com) given is specific to the league size in question. I’€™ll go from small leagues to large ones.

Jim Hackett and I will get into some of these players and much on the WEEI Fantasy Football Hour, so be sure to tune in. Our fourth show airs this Sunday at 7:30 a.m on 93.7.

EIGHT-TEAM LEAGUES

Terrance West, RB, Browns — ADP 142

I’€™ve been singing West’€™s praises since before the draft as I love his chances at earning a major role in his rookie season. That he plays behind oft-injured Ben Tate is an added bonus. Don’€™t let him get through your draft and into free agency. Roster him late.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles — ADP 143

He’€™s got big upside, but it might take a little time for him to get fully up to speed. Matthews is going to start as the third receiver in Philadelphia, but he’€™s a game-ready talent who can be a difference-maker for the Eagles. He has the potential to explode at any time. Matthews is well worth a shot at the end of your bench in small leagues. Check out his game by reading his Rotobahn scouting report.

Rueben Randle, WR, Giants — ADP 176

Randle has WR2 upside even in small formats, so I would make sure he is rostered in my league. With rookie Odell Beckham Jr. banged up a bit, Randle almost assuredly is going to get off to a good start, and he’€™s the best red zone weapon on the Giants roster — by a good margin.

10-TEAM LEAGUES

Matthews and West still are late-round options, and so is Randle. Let’€™s find a few more options since it’€™s a deeper format.

Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks ADP — 145

I am not a proponent of drafting handcuffs (insurance policies) in smaller formats. Christine Michael is an exception to the rule. Seattle’€™s second year running back could be a star should he replace Marshawn Lynch for any reason. If you own Lynch, Michael is worth more to you than what’€™s typically left at the end of drafts. Check out his scouting report to see some impressive game film.

Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints — 157

He’€™s failed to make the draft board in a lot of leagues, and that’€™s a mistake. Robinson has much upside despite Mark Ingram‘€™s big preseason. Ingram’€™s health has been an issue every season, and Robinson has the ability to gain a primary role … this makes him a nice late-round flier for an RB-needy team.

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars — ADP 161

He’€™s usually left for the waiver wire in smaller formats, but I’€™d consider adding him late in the draft because Lee has a chance to be Jacksonville’€™s true No. 1 option. This makes him worthy of a roster spot in 10-team leagues. Check out his scouting report if you are unfamiliar with Lee’s game.

Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs — ADP 176

As I said with Christine Michael, some backups are worth handcuffing in smaller formats. Davis is one of those guys as he would replace a lot of the stats that an injured Jamaal Charles would leave behind. Don’€™t draft Charles and leave Davis for somebody else … or for the waiver wire. His scouting report is worth a look.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs — ADP 174

Kelce is another flier you can take if you feel you need some upside at tight end. He’€™s a late-round option who could explode if the Chiefs feature him, as we suspect they might. Again, we want you playing into the strength of free agency. Take players who can hit big. Kelce has that potential for the Chiefs, who are looking for offensive weapons that don’€™t play running back.

Aaron Dobson, WR, Patriots — ADP – 207

He’€™s an afterthought in 10-team drafts so far, but I think Dobson has enough upside to be drafted as a deep upside receiver. The fact that we’ve seen nothing of him so far is causing drafters to avoid him, but I still see him as the best outside weapon in New England. He’€™s good value in the last few rounds.

12-TEAM LEAGUES

Both handcuff players, Michael and Davis are even more crucial at this league size, and they will go off the board a bit sooner. If you draft Jamaal Charles or Marshawn Lynch, make them a priority once your key starters and high upside reserves are in-place.

I’€™ll give more options here with a wider ADP spectrum as 12-team leagues often have deeper benches than smaller formats.

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Giants — ADP 180

You can’€™t take him too early because his hamstring problems could spill over into the regular season. Still, this guy went 12th overall for a reason and the Giants will be featuring him soon enough. I love him as a high-upside WR5 or WR6.

Cody Latimer, WR, Broncos — ADP 193

He can’€™t start for you right away, but he is close to a significant role in a Payton Manning offense … and all he needs is for Wes Welker or Emmanuel Sanders to miss time. I am rostering Latimer late the same way I was rostering Julius Thomas last season. It’€™s a risk worth taking. Read Latimer’s scouting report if you’ve seen him in action.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals — ADP 232

Sanu is a short-term fix for those who need help at WR3 or flex early in the season. Sanu should post nice numbers in Weeks 1-3 while he fills in for the injured Marvin Jones. If you need help early,
this is your guy.

Dri Archer, RB, Steelers — ADP 236

We are big on Archer overall, and he can help you in large formats … especially large PPT formats. We expect him to make big plays on most weeks and to gain momentum as the year wears on. This kid is explosive. Check out his scouting report if you’ve never seen him play.

Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Panthers — ADP 247

He can help you in deep PPR formats and even in standard scoring. Cotchery is going to be a go-to option for Cam Newton and he’€™ll almost always face single coverage. He should be rostered in all 12-team leagues.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings — ADP 248

He’€™s often undrafted, and that’€™s not happening in any big league that I’€™m in, especially if I drafted Adrian Peterson early. I know most people are assuming that Matt Asiata will be the starter in the event of a Peterson injury, but we feel strongly that it would be a shared backfield, with McKinnon eventually becoming the more valuable of the two. He was taken in Round 3 for a reason. The ex-triple option
quarterback is a versatile and dynamic athlete who will get better every week as he learns Norv Turner‘€™s offense. He is well worth an investment late in 12-team leagues.

DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Chiefs — ADP 254

As with Archer, he’€™s a player who may take some time, or may explode right away. I like the idea of rostering him in deep leagues, especially if they use PPR scoring. By my math, the Chiefs have to make a big weapon out of either Travis Kelce or Thomas. They need places to throw the football and they need players who can make plays with the ball in their hands. Thomas could play a role as a slot receiver and as a change-of-pace back. Think Danny Woodhead with the ability to take it to the house. You can often get him at the very end … even in PPR leagues.

14-TEAM LEAGUES

All of the above names apply to these groups as well, but let’€™s add a few more that stick out when looking at 14-team ADP data.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland — ADP 210

He can be a weekly option for you in big formats for as long as his health holds up. Hawkins is one of the few players in Cleveland who can get open against man-to-man coverage. He’€™ll make weekly plays and have value in deeper leagues.

Jonathan Grimes, RB, Texans — ADP 216

In big leagues, Grimes is a smart way to protect yourself against an injury to Arian Foster. He’€™s the current backup and he’€™s a good back. If your 12-team league has deep benches, Grimes is worth a look in that league size as well.

John Brown, WR, Cardinals — ADP 241

The rookie is a Rotobahn favorite. If you don’€™t know him, spend a few minutes with his scouting report. Brown is going to be the third receiver in Arizona, and when you consider how much attention Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd draw, you have to like Brown’€™s chance of making some big plays. He’€™s certainly worth a look in big formats and he could have major upside if one of the big two goes down.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders — ADP 274

This is a late-round target of mine in big leagues because I love his talent and I don’€™t trust the two old backs in front of him on Oakland’€™s depth chart. All you need is an injury to Maurice Jones-Drew or Darren McFadden and you have an nice flex option with significant upside. Check out our original scouting report on Murray if you are unfamiliar with his game.

Brian Quick, WR, Rams — ADP 290

He’€™ll probably stay off the radar with Sam Bradford going down for the year, but I see some sleeper potential with Quick, who is entering his third year and is exhibiting improved route-running in camp. Quick has upside as a red zone weapon in an offense looking for them. He should be owned in all leagues that roster more than 200 players.

Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks — ADP 317

If I draft Percy Harvin in a really big league, I like the idea of taking Richardson late. The second-round pick might be an intermittent factor as a rookie, but if Harvin goes down, as he’€™s been known to do, Richardson’€™s value could explode. He’€™s a rare WR handcuff option that makes sense in big formats. Check out his scouting report if you’re never seen him play.

Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots — ADP higher than 317

Bolden currently is not getting drafted in most big leagues. That may change soon if the rumors of Stevan Ridley’€™s release prove to be true. Either way, we like Bolden’€™s all-around game. Few backs can play power roles and skill roles at a high level. He’€™s well worth a look late in all leagues that have more than 12 teams. He’€™s a potential steal and he’€™s zero risk right now.

Charles Johnson, WR, Browns — ADP higher than 317

Like with Bolden, Johnson is not getting drafted. It’€™s understandable, but I am taking him late in big leagues because I think he could evolve to become Cleveland’€™s No. 1 option within a month or so. It’€™s a low risk, high-upside move late in big leagues.

Follow me on Twitter for updates on all our content.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson

FOXBORO — It’s official. The Logan Mankins era is over in New England.