All 32 NFL teams were required to trim their rosters from 75 players to the NFL-mandated limit of 53 players on Saturday afternoon, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into compliance by announcing a series of roster moves on Saturday evening.
The Bucs waived 21 players, including running back Kenneth Darby, wide receiver Mark Jones, defensive linemenn Ellis Wyms and Julian Jenkins, linebacker Jamie Winborn and cornerback Alan Zemaitis.
The most notable roster move might have been the one Tampa Bay elected not to make.
With quarterback Chris Simms struggling with his throwing form and mechanics throughout the offseason, training camp and preseason after undergoing a splenectomy in September of 2006, many believed the Bucs would release him on Saturday.
In fact, Simms, a 2003 third-round draft pick out of Texas, saw a limited amount of playing time in Tampa Bay's exhibition contests. He played in just one game — against Miami — and took only six snaps in that contest. Simms was even ruled out of the preseason finale vs. Houston due to a hip ailment.
As a result of Simms’ struggle to regain his throwing form, Jeff Garcia, 37, quickly established himself as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback while Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski, who have combined for 15 career starts in the NFL, performed well in preseason and earned backup roles behind Garcia.
However, Tampa Bay trimmed its 53-man roster without parting ways with Simms, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Bucs in December, meaning Tampa Bay will take four quarterbacks into the 2007 regular season.
The biggest name released from Tampa Bay's roster arguably was defensive lineman Ellis Wyms, who joined the Bucs as a sixth-round draft pick in 2001. Wyms, who was scheduled to earn a $3.9 base salary in 2007, notched 14.5 sacks and helped the Bucs win Super Bowl XXVII during his six-year tenure in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers released wide receiver Paris Warren, who suffered a severely dislocated ankle while catching the game-winning touchdown in the preseason finale vs. the Texans on Thursday night, as waived-injured. Warren led the Bucs with 15 catches for 191 yards and four touchdowns in preseason.
Three other players — offensive tackle Chris Denman, wide receiver Chas Gessner and cornerback Carlos Hendricks — were also waived-injured.
The Bucs parted ways with just three of their 10 2007 NFL Draft picks — Darby, Denman and cornerback Marcus Hamilton.
One roster move was already decided for the Buccaneers on Saturday. Cornerback Torrie Cox was suspended for the first four regular season games of the year in July for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. He is eligible to return to Tampa Bay’s active roster on Monday, Oct. 1. In the meantime, Cox will not account for one of the Bucs’ 53-man roster spots.
The Bucs waived the following players on Saturday:
DT Darrell Campbell
OT Chris Denman (injured)
RB Lionel Gates
WR Chas Gessner (injured)
CB Marcus Hamilton
TE Keith Heinrich
CB Carlos Hendricks (injured)
DL Julian Jenkins
WR Mark Jones
TE C.J. Leak
WR Chad Lucas
WR Mark Jones
OL Enoka Lucas
LB Jerry Mackey
S Donte Nicholson
OT Dennis Roland
FB Byron Storer
WR Paris Warren (injured)
LB Jamie Winborn
DL Ellis Wyms
CB Alan Zemaitis
Click here to view Tampa Bay's entire 53-man roster.
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