On Wednesday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport gave us a peek behind the curtain, detailing how the trade went down, according to sources involved in the deal.
During the offseason the Patriots asked Mankins -- who was due to count $10.5 million against the team's cap in 2014 and $11 million in 2015 -- to take a pay cut. The veteran refused (as we'd expect) and the Pats made him available.
The Bucs, who have had a terrible time revamping their offensive line, originally began the dialogue by calling New England about a Patriots backup guard. During the discussion, the Patriots expressed interest in tight end Tim Wright.
In the end Licht put a deal together to ship a tight end -- who could have gotten buried on the depth chart as the season went on -- and a fourth-round pick for a veteran offensive lineman he desperately needed.
For the Patriots, it's always just business.