With free agency scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, several NFL teams spent Thursday building a laundry list of cap casualties, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their own contribution to the unemployment line.
In a move that was somewhat expected, the Bucs released offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker Thursday.
Walker originally entered the NFL in 2001 as a first-round draft pick with the Buccaneers, who traded their first- and second-round picks to the Buffalo Bills to move up in the first round and select the former Florida Gator.
The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Walker played in 75 career games with the Bucs. He started 73 of those contests while seeing action at both tackle spots.
Walker, 27, tested free agency last offseason, but eventually re-joined the Bucs, signing a five-year contract that included a $1.450 million signing bonus. However, Walker started just three games in 2006 before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that required surgery.
In 2007, Walker was scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.95 million and would have had a $3.79 million salary cap value had he remained a Buccaneer.
By releasing Walker, the Bucs freed up approximately $2.7 million in cap space, giving them just over $25 million in cap room heading into free agency.
Walker’s release suggests Tampa Bay is comfortable heading into the 2007 season with Jeremy Trueblood as its starting right tackle. Trueblood was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2006 and started 13 regular season games in Walker’s place last season.
But the Bucs likely will still be in the market for a free agent tackle. The team visited with former New York Giants T Luke Petitgout on Wednesday.
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