A trade, major pickup and designation of practice squad players highlight a busy day for the Tampa Bay front office
It may be a week before the Buccaneers hit the field for keeps, but the front office spent the last Sunday without meaningful football games quite active. There have been many teams active in surprising moves and trades before the start of the season, and the Buccaneers with their busy Sunday are one of them.
Surprising Roster Cuts
Trimming a roster to 53 can and will lead to some surprising cuts, especially on a team with high expectations like the Buccaneers.
Video: Here's Dirk Koetter struggling to come up with an answer, asked if he saw improvement from rookie RB Jeremy McNichols tonight. pic.twitter.com/BA30MlxZBR
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 1, 2017
Jeremy McNichols- This weekend saw the departure of one of the Buccaneers 2017 draft choices, when 5th round pick Jeremy McNichols was cut. It was a surprising move, especially considering the Bucs will enter the 2017 season with just three backs on their roster.
“He’s just making too many mistakes on offense. “He had a protection error that led to a sack so I took him out at that point. That was my decision. He’s going to play a lot on Thursday night and he’s going to get one final chance to show what he can do.”- Dirk Koetter via Jenna Laine of ESPN
Although McNichols had a decent final preseason game against the Washington Redskins, it apparently wasn’t enough for Koetter to include McNichols in their plans for 2017 or beyond.
Garrison Sanborn– Although Sanborn may not be a household name, he performed well this offseason, and appeared to be the long snapper going forward. That was not the case, as the Bucs cut the eight year veteran. Garrison hasn’t missed a game in his career, and inked a one year deal with the Bucs back in August.
Practice Squad Set
— Trey Downey (@TDExperience) August 28, 2017
Many Buccaneers fans seemed surprised when the Buccaneers cut undrafted free agent linebacker Riley Bullough out of Michigan State. After all, if you have been tuning into HBO’s Hard Knocks, it was kind of hard not to like the guy who showed more heart and passion than your average rookie. Although he didn’t make the 53 man roster, he will stick around with the Pewter Pirates as a member of their practice squad.
A solid performance in the final preseason game also netted a practice squad spot for another undrafted free agent who made noise on Hard Knocks, Bobo Wilson. Although he was highlighted for less than stellar reasons, he used the final preseason game to prove his worth to the Buccaneers organization.
Taking a look at the list of practice squad members, one thing stands out. All members of the practice squad this year were with the Buccaneers throughout training camp.
Here is the full list of practice squad members:
- Sterling Bailey- DE
- Riley Bullough- LB
- Russell Hansbrough– RB
- Austin Johnson– FB
- Isaiah Johnson– S
- Michael Liedtke- G
- Marquis Lucas- T
- Freddie Martino– WR
- Jonathan Moxey- CB
- Bobo Wilson- WR
Buccaneers Sign A Safety
— Samer Ali (@Samer__Ali) September 3, 2017
One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. With a glaring need at the safety position, the Buccaneers were handed a gift on a silver platter.
Feeling comfortable with their depth at the safety position, the Denver Broncos decided to part ways with three-time Pro Bowler T.J. Ward. The Buccaneers quickly signed him, after neither Justin Evans nor J.J. Wilcox gave them anything to be excited about during training camp.
Ward signed a one year, $5 million deal, and figures to slide into the starting position as soon as he as comfortable with the Buccaneers scheme. Don’t be surprised to see him starting in week 1, despite not being with the team throughout training camp.
Ward played in 14 games last season, picking up 87 combined tackles), eight pass breakups, three forced fumbles, an interception and a sack.
Get One Safety, Trade Another
Steelers acquire S JJ Wilcox and 2019 7th round pick from Buccaneers in exchange for a 2018 6th round pick. pic.twitter.com/IiqPL2KDsJ
— DRK Sports (@drksportsnews) September 3, 2017
Shortly after signing T.J. Ward, the Buccaneers decided to part ways with the safety they signed in the offseason, J.J. Wilcox. The Buccaneers shipped Wilcox and seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Sure the return wasn’t much, but neither was the production out of Wilcox during the offseason festivities. The Buccaneers signed Wilcox to a two-year, $8.5 million deal this offseason to compete for the starting job. Not only did he not win the job, he will now head to the Steel City looking to help another team challenged at the position.