Longtime New England Patriots’ guard Shaq Mason was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers on Tuesday. Reports indicated that the Patriots will receive a 2022 fifth-round pick in exchange for the veteran guard.
Terms of the trade …— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 15, 2022
Buccaneers get: G Shaq Mason.
Patriots get: 2022 fifth-round pick.
Mason is due $7.5 million this year, $8.5 million next—affordable numbers for a starting guard (less than Alex Cappa got). The Patriots save $7.125 million on the cap.
It appears the main motive for New England here was to clear up some cap space. The Patriots will open up somewhere in the ballpark of $7 million by shedding Mason.
It’s a move that certainly has raised more questions than answers. Mason has been with the Patriots since 2015, when they selected him in the fourth round. Not only is he a long tenured member, but he’s also been one of their best offensive lineman over the past decade. Pro Football Focus even had Mason ranked as their 4th best guard in the entire league last season.
Pro Football Focus had new Bucs guard Shaq Mason as their No. 4 guard last year in overall rating. By comparison, they had Ali Marpet 7th, Alex Cappa 18th. Definitely fills a key need on offensive line tasked with protecting Tom Brady at age 45 this season.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 15, 2022
It’s hard to envision how losing a guard of his caliber will help the Patriots improve. Especially after moving on from players like JC Jackson, Kyle Van Noy, and Ted Karras, you would think the team would what a familiar face like Mason.
If free agent tackle Trent Brown decides to leave as well, that’s three starting offensive lineman who will have departed this offseason. Not exactly a good thing when you have a young developing QB under center.
The only explanation that I could possibly offer up is that perhaps this is a precursor to something big happening. There’s a lot of big names still on the free agent market, so perhaps New England needed to clear up space to make a run at someone they really want.
It’s the only reason I could see them dumping Mason and Van Noy for essentially nothing. There has to be something planned by Belichick here.
The start of this offseason has not been an exactly easy one to swallow, but perhaps Belichick has something up his sleeve that will calm all of Patriot Nation’s nerves. One can only hope for as much.
Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
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