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Bill Belichick pays tribute to Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo: ‘Pillars in the organization’ 03.22.16 at 9:36 am ET
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Jerod Mayo retired this offseason after eight seasons with the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jerod Mayo retired this offseason after eight seasons with the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

This offseason has seen the retirement of linebacker Jerod Mayo and offensive lineman Logan Mankins, two players who were fundamental to the success of the Patriots for roughly a decade. On Tuesday morning, New England coach Bill Belichick took time out at the owners’ meetings in Florida to pay tribute to two players he said were “pillars” in their time as players.

“There have been very few players in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to coach that have had the sort of impact on a team that Jerod has,” Belichick said of Mayo. “He’s been a pleasure to coach and a great addition to our team, both on and off the field. I’m sure I’ve learned a lot more from him than he learned from me.”

Mayo played nine seasons with the Patriots. A former All-Pro, the Tennessee product led the team in tackles every year from 2008 through 2012, and his 175 tackles (per ESPN) in 2010 led the league.

“The attitude, work ethic and love for football he brought was special,” Belichick added on Mayo. “He was very special.”

As for Mankins, he didn’t get the chance to finish his career in a Patriots uniform, but carved out a legacy of toughness that will be tough to mach. The former Fresno State star also reached All-Pro status, playing in New England for nine seasons and in Tampa for another two.

“Like Jerod, [Logan] was a No. 1 draft choice — came in and made an immediate impact on our team. Just a great person to have on our team,” Belichick said. “His family, Jerod and his family, they were more than just players. They were pillars in the organization, from a total standpoint.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins,
Report: Former Patriots OL Logan Mankins retires 03.07.16 at 10:14 am ET
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Logan Mankins

Logan Mankins

A great NFL player is calling it quits.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, former Patriots guard Logan Mankins is calling it a career.

Mankins spent 11 seasons in the league — the first nine with the Patriots and the last two with the Buccaneers after being traded to Tampa Bay prior to the 2014 season.

The 33-year-old was a seven-time Pro Bowler and regarded as one of the toughest players ever to play the game. Mankins played in two Super Bowls, but was never able to win the big game.

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Former Patriots OL Logan Mankins mulling retirement 02.24.16 at 3:55 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — It sounds like the Buccaneers are preparing for Logan Mankins to call it a career.

No one is sure what the future might hold for the former Patriots guard, who spent seven years in New England before a trade to Tampa Bay prior to the start of the 2014 season. But while Bucs GM Jason Licht praised Mankins and his leadership skills, he also made it clear they have contingency plans in place if Mankins does decide to hang them up.

“We’ll be talking to Logan in the next few weeks,” Licht said when asked about the 34-year-old Mankins, a former All-Pro. “His decision isn’t going to have any sort of hindrance on what we’re planning on doing for the future. You’ve got to build. You’ve got to look three years ahead, so his decision isn’t going to hurt us in any way right now with what we’re planning on doing.”

Mankins was a first-round pick of the Patriots in 2005, and played nine seasons for the Patriots before he was dealt to Tampa Bay.

Read More: 2016 NFL combine, Jason Licht, Logan Mankins,
Adam Schefter on D&C: ‘Patriots are always making calls to upgrade their roster’ 11.03.15 at 9:08 am ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to preview the NFL’s trade deadline, which is set for Tuesday at 4 p.m. and also to discuss other matters from around the league. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. and while Schefter said he wouldn’t get his hopes up, he said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a few trades made. He also noted the Patriots are always among the teams who are looking to improve their roster.

“First and foremost we should point out we’ve already seen trades, more trades in the NFL over the last few weeks than we probably have in recent times,” Schefter said. “The Patriots went out and traded for Jon Bostic. The Panthers went out and traded for Jared Allen. Yesterday the Denver Broncos traded for Vernon Davis. Right there we’ve probably seen more trades than football usually yields. I love the trades. I think it’s great. Today, I think we could see some things, depending on the day goes. I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I spoke to a bunch of teams yesterday. Everyone is looking around, sniffing around.

“I think the Jets would love to be able to trade for a quarterback, but you tell me who. I think the Patriots are always making calls to upgrade their roster. I think the Broncos are still in the market for another offensive lineman if they can find one. It will be very difficult to do that. Panthers could be in the market for a wide receiver.”

With the Patriots’ injuries on the offensive line, a name that has been thrown around for a possible trade is Buccaneers guard Logan Mankins. Schefter said that trade isn’t going to happen.

“Look, everybody needs depth on the offensive line, but [the Patriots’] young linemen have done a great job this season,” he said. “Yes, they could use another guy — a swing tackle maybe, a guy that can play a couple of different positions. No question about it. Again, to Tampa, they aren’t trading Logan Mankins.

“If you watch on Sunday during the game, Kwon Alexander lost his 17-year-old brother on Saturday. He was beaten up in a fight and killed in Alabama and [Kwon] played the game of his life on Sunday — 11 tackles, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, an interception, a whole bunch of big plays. After the game, postgame in the locker room, Lovie Smith stood up, called out their captain and their leader to present the game ball to Kwon AlexanderLogan Mankins. You think they are going to call him up on Sunday after a big, inspirational win when this team is making a playoff push and turn around and trade him? Not going to happen.”

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Read More: 2015 trade deadline, adam schefter, Andrew Luck, Logan Mankins
Let’s make a deal: With deadline fast approaching, examining Patriots potential trade targets 11.01.15 at 6:47 pm ET
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Will the Patriots make a trade for a cornerback like Sean Smith? (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Will the Patriots make a trade for a cornerback like Sean Smith? (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

While the Patriots are a perfect 7-0 on the season and getting a few players back from injuries — Brandon LaFell (PUP) two weeks ago and Bryan Stork (injured reserve designated for return) as soon as this coming Sunday — Bill Belichick is all about making his team better whenever he can.

The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. and while it isn’t essential the Patriots make a trade, given Belichick making over 100 trades since joining the organization, a deal is always in the cards at the deadline.

For what it is worth, the Patriots have made a trade deadline deal each of the last three seasons.

Given the current state of the Patriots’ roster, there aren’t many positions that need improvement. The only need may be another veteran at cornerback, as the team lost Tarell Brown for the year with a season-ending foot injury and behind Malcolm Butler on the depth chart is just Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin.

Something to note when it comes to the Patriots potentially dealing away draft picks for players is they don’t have a first-round pick, as that was stripped because of Deflategate. They also don’t have a fifth-round pick because they traded that pick to Houston for receiver Keshawn Martin earlier this year. The Patriots did get Houston’s sixth-round pick in that trade, but they traded away their own sixth-round pick to the Bears in exchange for linebacker Jon Bostic.

With that being said, here are some potential players the Patriots could be taking a look at as the trade deadline approaches:

Sean Smith, Chiefs, cornerback — Even with the Chiefs’ blowout win over the Lions in London, they still are a team looking at the future. Smith is a name that has come up in potential trades, as NFL Media’s Gil Brandt predicted he could be had for a late-round pick. Smith is in his seventh season in the league and would be a nice veteran presence in the Patriots’ secondary. He was suspended three games to start the season after a DUI in the offseason, but he’s been durable, only missing one game in his first six years in the league. He has eight career interceptions and is certainly a player to monitor over the next two days.

Marcus Cooper, Chiefs, cornerback — Cooper is in the same situation as Smith with Kansas City. The third-year player played his college ball at Rutgers, which is an obvious connection to New England right away. Cooper was drafted in the seventh-round of the 2013 draft by the 49ers, but was cut prior to the season. He joined the Chiefs immediately and has been there ever since. His playing time has decreased over the last few seasons and a new team may be the best thing for Cooper. With the Patriots having a need at corner, he too is a Chiefs player to keep an eye on.

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Read More: Alterraun Verner, Berkevious Mingo, Calvin Johnson, Jason McCourty
Summer Blockbusters: Patriots 5 most impactful personnel moves between start of camp and regular season of Bill Belichick era 08.03.15 at 2:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18:  Ted Washington #92 of the New England Patriots lifts the AFC Championship Trophy after the win against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 24-14. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ted Washington lifts the 2003 AFC championship trophy. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The team-building process doesn’t stop at the end of free agency; franchises are always looking to augment their roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at the five most important personnel moves the Patriots have made over the summer months during the Bill Belichick era.

Aug. 19, 2003 — Trade fourth-round pick to Chicago for nose tackle Ted Washington: The 2002 Patriots struggled to stop the run, and as the 2003 season dawned, it remained the Achilles’ heel of the defense. Enter the massive Washington, who was able to play a sizable role (pun intended) in helping craft a championship run defense. The 6-foot-5, 365-pounder shut things down up front in his lone season with the Patriots.

Aug. 2, 2009 — Sign free agent defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich: The former backup long snapper had been released by the Saints, but the Patriots scooped him up off the street for nothing. He started as a special teamer, and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup. The 31-year-old has turned into one of the foundational elements of the New England defense — in his six years with the Patriots, he has 35.5 sacks, including three straight seasons with eight sacks or more.

Aug. 6, 2009 — Trade third- and fifth-round picks to Oakland for linebacker Derrick Burgess: The 6-foot-2, 266-pounder out of Ole Miss was acquired by the Patriots roughly a month before the start of the 2009 regular season, and came away with five sacks and a forced fumble in his one year in New England.

July 29, 2011 — Trade fifth-round pick to Washington for defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth; trade fifth- and sixth-round picks to Cincinnati for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco: While these moves weren’t particularly impactful (Haynesworth was gone before the end of the season and Ochocinco looked terrified of making a mistake every time he took the field with New England), they made the list just because they were two outsized personalities who were acquired just after the lockout ended.

Aug. 26, 2014 — Trade offensive lineman Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick: The Patriots’ most surprising personnel move of the year saw the venerable guard shipped out of town in exchange for Wright, a move tight end who worked to complement starter Rob Gronkowski. While Wright didn’t have overwhelming numbers (and was cut the following offseason), he did set a new mark for dependability as a member of the New England passing attack.

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco, Derrick Burgess, Logan Mankins
Countdown to camp: Offensive line 07.23.15 at 11:12 am ET
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As a rookie, Bryan Stork became an absolutely vital part of New England's offensive line. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

As a rookie, Bryan Stork became an absolutely vital part of New England’s offensive line. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

As training camp approaches, we’€™ll offer a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 Patriots. We started with the wide receivers and moved on to the tight ends. Now, it’s the offensive line.

Depth chart: David Andrews (rookie), Tre Jackson (rookie), Chris Barker, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming, Caylin Hauptmann, Josh Kline, Shaq Mason (rookie), Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, Jordan Devey, Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer.


1. While there are other players with more experience in the system, the new leader of the line is Bryan Stork. The FSU product, who remains the spiritual descendent of Logan Mankins (right down to the occasionally questionable facial hair, the nasty attitude and preternatural skill set), stepped into the center spot last year as a rookie and immediately stabilized the line. There were some durability issues as the season went on (he missed the AFC title game with a knee injury, and he was actually listed as questionable in the days leading up to the Super Bowl), but he was far and away the pick for New England’s Rookie of the Year in 2014. As long as he stays healthy, there’s no reason to think that Stork won’t be the Patriots’ franchise center for the next decade.

2. Nate Solder probably deserves a pass for any issues he may have had last season. The left tackle out of Colorado appeared to struggle at times over the course of 2014, but still managed to hold up well while protecting Tom Brady‘s blind side over the course of the season, and earned his first Super Bowl ring along the way. But in hindsight, the news that he had been treated for testicular cancer last spring means he fundamentally gets a mulligan for what happened in 2014. Bottom line? Solder isn’t the sort to make excuses, but we’ll give him an out here. Given a clean bill of health, we fully expect Solder to return to the same high-level status he enjoyed over the course of his first three seasons in the NFL.

3. While there are some questions about how he reacts under pressure, Tom Brady still remains really good at gauging the state of the New England offensive line. We’ve hit on this many times over the last few years, but it’s tough trying to quantify good offensive line play — in many cases, you don’€™t necessarily need the five best pure linemen. Instead, it’€™s the five who work the best as a unit, so it takes time to find the best combinations. While the Patriots were going through those issues at the start of the 2014 season, one of the things that appeared to help turn things around (in addition to the evolution of Stork) was a concerted effort from Brady to speed up his release times. It’s important to remember that things vary from week-to-week depending on opponent, scheme and personnel, but looking at Brady’s release times over the course of the 2014 season, it was clear that getting the ball out fast in the passing game was a real point of emphasis for the New England offense. (For a deeper dive into those numbers from last season, check out Ryan Hannable’s excellent story here.)

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Read More: Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming, Countdown to Camp, Dan Connolly



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