The Bucs on Sunday made their first series of roster cuts, waiving 11 players and releasing seventh-year pro Major Wright. With the roster now at 77 players, Tampa Bay has two more players to cut by Tuesday.
Here’s the list of Sunday’s cuts: DT Travis Britz CB Daniel Davie WR Andre Davis T Taylor Fallin LB Jeremiah George DE Martin Ifedi RB Storm Johnson DT Ishmaa’ily Kitchen S Kimario McFadden P Jacob Schum TE Telvin Westbrook
Because Wright, who played in 21 games with nine starts for the Bucs over two years, is a veteran (four years in the league) he is not subject to the waiver wire. The rest of the players will have to clear waivers before the Bucs could have the option of adding them to the practice squad.
Among the more notable releases also include Storm Johnson, Jacob Schum and Telvin Westbrook. Johnson, the former seventh-round pick of the Jaguars out of UCF, was one of the four running backs competing for the Bucs No. 3 spot but struggled to catch on. With just 30 yards and a TD on 13 carries during the preseason, Johnson fell behind Peyton Barber, Mike James and Russell Hansbrough in the crowded race. A fumble against the Browns on Friday certainly didn’t help his case.
Schum, meanwhile, has had a quietly good offseason – though most off-seasons for punters are quiet. As Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweeted, Schum had a net average of 39.5 yards per punt over the last three weeks, compared to Bryan Anger, the presumptive winner of the role, who had a 44.1 net average. Schum, who was waived by the Bucs twice in 2014, was the Bucs punter all last season after beating out Michael Koenen in his third attempt to make the roster.
Though Schum, 27, was solid for Tampa Bay in 2015, the outlook to make the team looked bleak for him when the Bucs signed Anger, a former third-round pick in 2012 and highest drafted punter since 1995, in March. It was a close battle, but the latest signee won it in the end.
Lastly, among the notable cuts, is Westbrook. The former Gators tight end, who sat behind Pro Bowler Jordan Reed for a time at Florida, was an undrafted player who drew attention during the early parts of the offseason. At 6-foot-5, 257-pounds, Westbrook has ideal size and athleticism as a defensive end-turned-tight end. He was believed to be in the mix for a final spot behind Cameron Brate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Dirk Koetter’s tight end heavy offense, though the climb to make the final roster always seemed like an uphill battle. Westbrook had just one reception for four yards against Philadelphia in Week 1 of the preseason.
This is the toughest part of August and not just for the players who are let go. First-year head coach Dirk Koetter had this to say about roster cuts Saturday.
“I’m not really looking forward to this part of this week,” Koetter said. “I’m anxiously looking forward to the season starting but the guys we have here, they’ve given us what we’ve asked them to. They’ve worked hard, but this is a business so we’re going to have to say goodbye to a few guys and by the end of the week, a few more. So that’s not the fun part by any means.”
Before the fun part starts, the Bucs will have to get their roster down to 53 by Saturday, September 4.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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