Bucs Pro Bowler Logan Mankins announces he'll retire from the NFL
Bucs guard Logan Mankins is retiring after 11 seasons in the NFL, the Times confirmed Monday morning.
Mankins, 33, officially informed the Bucs of his decision this morning, although the news is not a surprise to the team.
Much like the Broncos did with Peyton Manning, the Bucs wanted to give Mankins every day possible to be certain of his decision. But unlike Manning, don't expect Mankins to have a news conference. He always has been a humble player who didn't seek the spotlight and would probably prefer to ride off quietly into the sunset.
Mankins started 31 of 32 games since being traded to the Bucs from the Patriots in 2014 for tight end Tim Wrigtht and a fourth round draft pick in 2015. He was a big reason why the team had the league's fifth-best offense last season. But at 33, and having struggled all season with a knee injury, the seven-time Pro Bowl player decided to call it quits.
"It's always difficult losing a player of Logan's caliber both on the field and in the locker room,'' Bucs GM Jason Licht said. "He's one of the toughest, most intelligent and skilled players at his position that I have seen in my years around this game. Logan distinguished himself as the ultimate professional over his 11 year career and he was an unquestioned leader for us over the last two seasons. His leadership, work ethic and selflessness played a key role in the development of our younger players and he set the standard which we use to evaluate all of our offensive linemen.''
Mankins' retirement will save the Bucs another $7 million on the salary cap, giving them about $57 million of salary cap space to potentially spend on free agents.
The Bucs' plan right now would be to replace Mankins at left guard with either third-year pro Kevin Pamphile, who started one game there a year ago, or center/guard Evan Smith. But the team could add competiition through free agency and the draft.
A first-round draft selection in 2005, Mankins has spent his entire nine-year career with the Patriots and was New England's most consistent offensive lineman in front of star quarterback Tom Brady for nine seasons. His trade was the result of a contract dispute and he missed out on the Pats win in Super Bowl XLIX over Seattle in 2014.