The Tampa Bay Buccaneers trimmed their roster from 76 to 53 players on Saturday evening.
The Bucs released 22 players, including left tackle Derrick Deese, who had been sidelined for almost all of training camp and all four of Tampa Bay's preseason games due to a lingering ankle injury.
Deese, 35, will still be on Tampa Bay's books for $588,000 this year, and the Bucs will absorb approximately $2.7 million, which is the remaining portion of Deese's prorated signing bonus, in 2006. Anthony Davis has replaced Deese as Tampa Bay's starting left tackle.
Joining Deese's dead cap money on next year's books will be the remaining portions of the prorated signing bonuses for running back Charlie Garner ($2.464 million), who was released last week, and tackle Todd Steussie ($2.666 million), who was released before the start of training camp.
All three of those players, who were signed by Bucs general manager Bruce Allen as free agents in 2004, will account for approximately $7.83 million in dead cap room in 2006.
The good news for Allen and Co. is one of those players is still on their roster. Because of Deese's absence, the Bucs re-signed Steussie a week after releasing him in a salary cap maneuver. The re-signing of Steussie for league minimum turned out to be quite a value as he will now back up Davis at left tackle.
In addition to releasing Deese, a few of the more notable cuts were tight end Will Heller and defensive end Josh Savage, both of whom spent last season on Tampa Bay's active roster.
The Bucs were required to release 23 players in order to create their 53-man roster, but one roster spot was created when the team opted to place linebacker Jeff Gooch on injured reserve.
Gooch suffered a severe calf pull in Tampa Bay's third preseason contest vs. Miami. Fourth-year LB Ryan Nece has replaced Gooch as the team's starting strongside linebacker. By placing Gooch on IR, the Bucs only have five linebackers on their 53-man roster.
Tampa Bay opted to keep seven wide receivers, including draft picks Larry Brackins, Paris Warren and J.R. Russell, on their active roster. In fact, 11 of Tampa Bay's 12 draft selections secured roster spots. The only draft pick to not make the final cut was safety Hamza Abdullah, a seventh-round selection.
One of the more intriguing training camp and preseason battles was finally decided Saturday. The Bucs' kicking job went to Matt Bryant after Todd France was released on Saturday.
Although France made all four of his field goal attempts in preseason and at times outkicked his competition, Bryant displayed the stronger leg on kickoffs and made a 52-yard field goal vs. Houston on Thursday night.
France wasn't the only NFL Europe Buc to be released on Saturday. In fact, cornerback Blue Adams, who had a very impressive preseason, was the only NFL Europe Buc to make the active roster.
Tampa Bay will likely form its eight-man practice squad within the next 48 hours. One of the players on the team's practice squad will be safety Claudius Osei, who spent training camp with the Bucs and is a member of the International Development Practice Squad program. Osei will not count as one of the eight players on Tampa Bay's taxi squad, and he cannot be promoted to the active roster during the 2005 season.
Click here to view a complete breakdown of Tampa Bay's 53-man roster.
BUCS' ROSTER MOVES:
S Hamza Abdullah
LB Josh Buhl
G Jonathan Clinkscale
DT Delbert Cowsette
T Derrick Deese
K Todd France
LB Matt Grootegoed
TE Will Heller
C Scott Jackson
T Sam Lightbody
WR Derek McCoy
WR Terrance Metcalf
CB James Patrick
S Kalvin Pearson
WR DeAndrew Rubin
DE Josh Savage
DT Brian Save
P Brian Simnjanovski
LB Jermaine Taylor
RB Derek Watson
DE Andrew Williams
LB Jeff Gooch (calf)
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