Another New England Patriot is headed to Tampa Bay.
The Patriots are trading longtime starting right guard Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers, according to multiple reports Tuesday.
Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson was the first to report the trade, which cannot be finalized until the new league year opens Wednesday.
New England reportedly received a fifth-round draft pick for Mason — a modest return for a player who has been one of the top guards in football.
The deal frees up close to $7 million in salary cap space, but the Patriots now must replace both of their starting guards this offseason. Left guard Ted Karras on Monday agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals on a three-year, $18 million contract. New England could have a third hole to fill if right tackle Trent Brown signs elsewhere.
Mason has graded out as one of Pro Football Focus’s top 10 guards in each of the last six seasons, ranking sixth in 2020 and fourth in 2021. The 28-year-old reunites with former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on a Bucs team that lost one starting guard in free agency (Alex Cappa) and another to retirement (Ali Marpet).
A 2015 fourth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Mason appeared in 103 games with 98 starts over his seven seasons in New England, winning two Super Bowls.
Mike Onwenu, who began this season as New England’s starting left guard before losing his spot to Karras, likely will start in one guard spot in 2022, but he also has right tackle experience. The 2020 sixth-rounder was a standout right guard at Michigan, allowing just two sacks over three collegiate seasons.