On the league’s first cutdown day of the exhibition season, a trade and several key players going on injured reserve overshadowed other moves.
In an unusual transaction for its timing, New England sent six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay on Tuesday for tight end Tim Wright and a draft choice.
The Patriots apparently are satisfied with a young group of blockers, and the Buccaneers were desperate to improve their offensive line.
“He has a history of a certain type of play in the league,” first-year Bucs coach Lovie Smith said of Mankins, 32. “We got better, kind of simple as that.”
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Bringing in a tight end could mean the Patriots are particularly concerned about when Rob Gronkowski can return to the lineup. The injury-prone Gronkowski, coming off right-knee surgery, recently began to take part in contact drills.
While Gronkowski works to come back, gone for the season are St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford and Green Bay defensive tackle B.J. Raji.
Both went on injured reserve Tuesday, Bradford after tearing his left ACL for the second straight year, Raji with a torn biceps. Also on injured reserve is Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso, who hurt his left knee before training camp began.
Other veterans placed on IR were Indianapolis running back Vick Ballard and Cleveland offensive tackle Michael Bowie, a former Seahawk.
Put on the physically unable to perform list were Indianapolis fullback Stanley Havili and Oakland cornerback DJ Hayden.
Hayden has a stress fracture in his right foot. Players on PUP must miss at least six weeks of the regular season.
The first wave of cuts down to the maximum 75 players included veteran quarterbacks Thad Lewis (by Buffalo), Brady Quinn (by Miami) and Trent Edwards (by Oakland). Quinn was released by the Seahawks last summer.
New Orleans released linebacker Victor Butler and tight end Travis Beckum.
St. Louis’ Michael Sam, a rookie defensive end who is the league’s first openly gay active player, remains in the running for a roster spot.
The next cuts, to the 53-man roster for the regular season, will be Saturday.