Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots haven't been shy about moving some of their older players before they suffer a major decline. That could be in effect again after New England sent veteran guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick.
We don't often spend a lot of time talking about offensive linemen in a fantasy context, but Mankins' addition to the Tampa offensive line could have an impact. The Bucs have been looking for help along their front line -- especially at the guard spot. Adding a player with six career Pro Bowl appearances represents an upgrade over Tampa Bay's current choices at the position, notably in the department of run blocking.
That last part is important in Lovie Smith and Jeff Tedford's new offense. The Bucs should be a run-heavy offense in 2014, led by Doug Martin in the backfield. This could make it a little easier to move the ball along the ground while giving Martin and company a slight uptick in fantasy value.
Going the other way is Tim Wright, who had a few nice fantasy weeks in 2013 but wasn't going to beat out rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins for playing time in Tampa. The Patriots aren't likely to use a lot of two-tight end sets in their offense, which means Wright could be used as insurance for Rob Gronkowski. It does stand as another reason to be concerned about Gronk's status, which remains unsettled for Week 1. But before you assume Wright can just slide in to Gronk's spot in the event of an injury, let Around the NFL's Chris Wesseling hit you with a dose of reality.
@MarcasG Gronk and Wright essentially play different positions.â Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) August 26, 2014
Fair point. Joining the team so late in the preseason means Wright isn't likely to be an immediate impact player. If Gronk isn't available in the season opener, it could fall to Michael Hoomanawanui to pick up the flag. Fantasy owners are better off leaving Wright alone for the time being.
Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.