The Houston Texans have acquired some help on the offensive line as they make a trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard Shaq Mason on Tuesday. The deal was confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones. As for compensation, it's a late-round pick swap, with Houston giving Tampa Bay a sixth-rounder, and receiving Mason plus a seventh-rounder.
Mason started in all 17 games in his one season with the Buccaneers. He was actually traded from the New England Patriots to Tampa Bay last March, reuniting Tom Brady with one of his former offensive linemen. While the Buccaneers are losing a starting offensive guard, they do clear about $5 million in cap space -- something Tampa Bay needed to do with it still over the set number.
The Texans, on the other hand, add a legitimate starter on the offensive line with experience at both guard spots, and Mason is also someone Texans general manager Nick Caserio is familiar with from his days in New England. Mason was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Georgia Tech. He started in 98 of the 103 games played with the Patriots, and won two Super Bowls.
Let's attempt to grade this transaction.
Houston gets a veteran starter in the trenches, although it's just for one year. Mason is due $8.5 million in yearly cash, per Spotrac, and then will hit the open market next offseason. Then again, maybe Caserio has an extension in mind. Don't be surprised if that happens.
Either way, this is certainly a win for Houston when you consider it just gave up a sixth-round pick for a veteran guard. This is a move other OL-needy teams are looking at and wishing they could have made. Per Aaron Wilson, Mason could replace A.J. Cann as the new starting right guard, while Cann is released. That move would clear about $4 million in cap.
While Tampa Bay loses a starting offensive guard, it needed to clear cap space to get under the number by Wednesday. It was known that Mason was a trade/cut candidate because of this. The Bucsto the Patriots in exchange for Mason, while they received a sixth and gave up a seventh for him, so there's not too much value lost. With Brady gone, it's understood the Buccaneers are entering a new era. The loss of Mason certainly makes the offensive line even more of a need for Tampa Bay this offseason.