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A third Bucs player has departed for a new NFL team as free agency grinds to a halt. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Bucs backup CB and special teams ace Ryan Smith is signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.

For the second season in his career, Smith did not see the field defensively for even a single snap in 2020, after playing just 50 the year before. A GM Jason Licht-fourth round draft pick in 2016, Smith struggled when he did get opportunities to play in 2017 and 2018, but became one of the team’s core special teams contributors, especially in 2020. The backup CB was second on the team in special teams snaps behind only Pat O’Connor, seeing the field for 441 reps, most notably as a gunner on punt team.

Only three Bucs free agents have left the team this offseason, with Smith joining backup offensive linemen Joe Haeg (Steelers) and safety Andrew Adams (Eagles) as the lone departures. Tampa Bay returns all 22 starters and has just 10 remaining free agents without a team, most notably WR Antonio Brown, QB Blaine Gabbert, CB Ross Cockrell and DT Steve McLendon. With Smith heading to L.A., the Bucs would most likely turn to practice squad cornerback Herb Miller, who had an interception against the Lions in Week 16 last season.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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thewbacca
5 months ago

Best of luck to “the lean.” Was helpful on special teams but that’s it. Good value draft pick, replaceable, and don’t blame him for wanting more of an opportunity to see playing time- just has to be somewhere else.

lambeau
5 months ago

Special teams is a weakness, and this is worrisome. Matthew Slater makes $2.5 M/year as a gunner, and is worth it–we can’t afford 20 yard punt returns.

SufferingSince76
5 months ago

I am confident the Bucs can succeed without him.

drdneast
Reply to  SufferingSince76
5 months ago

The 2016 draft had to be the all time worst draft in Bucs history. Not one plater drafted still with the team and for good reason.

DMIbucs98
Reply to  drdneast
5 months ago

Every draft was pretty bad up until 2018. Only 5 players dafted remain on the team from 14′,15′,16′,17′ ouch!!! But it aslo shows how much bad coaching can influence a draft choice.

Kind of glad the team kept the GM and not fire him (even I was very critical of him) like in usual situations. GM-HC-QB. Sometimes its about finding your right coach.

drdneast
5 months ago

Good luck with that state income tax and the LA cost of living. This is not a good financial move that is for sure.

Dman
5 months ago

Smith had a good run with us. Best of luck to him.

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