On the NFL's first preseason cutdown day, 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," new Bucs coach Lovie Smith said, adding that the 10th-year pro will bring leadership on and off the field. "We got better, kind of simple as that."

Bringing in a tight end could mean the Patriots are particularly concerned when Rob Gronkowski can return to the lineup. The injury-prone Gronkowski, coming off right knee surgery, only recently began to take part in contact drills.

While Gronkowski works to come back, gone for the season are Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and Packers 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 Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso, who hurt his left knee before training camp began.

Other veterans placed on I.R. were Colts running back Vick Ballard, Seahawks linebacker Heath Farwell and Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie.


Advertisement

The first wave of cuts down to the maximum 75 players saw veterans quarterbacks Thad Lewis and Brady Quinn released. Buffalo cut Lewis when it signed Jordan Palmer, while Quinn was let go by Miami.

Bears: Quarterback David Fales will start and possibly play all of Chicago's exhibition finale Thursday against Cleveland. The sixth-round draft pick from San Jose State hasn't played in an exhibition since the opener Aug. 8.

Fales is third on the team's depth chart behind Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen. If Fales doesn't make the team, he could be signed to the practice roster.