The makeup of the Bucs 2018 roster is already starting to take shape and it is only February with some subtractions.

Of course when you finish 5-11, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Bucs have already parted ways with starters Doug Martin and Chris Baker, and recently declined to tender cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah and linebacker Adarius Glanton. And on Monday it was reported the Bucs will not pick up the 2018 contract of center Joe Hawley. Hawley gave way to Ali Marpet at center in 2017, but was still a valuable backup who saw action last season after injuries ravaged the Bucs offensive line.

Hawley started 31 games for the Buccaneers after being signed as a free agent in 2015.

By allowing Hawley to become a free agent, the Bucs will save $2.5 million in cap space in 2018. Tampa Bay must also decide if they want to sign guard Kevon Pamphile and Evan Smith who split time as starters last season.

Tampa Bay now has around$73 million in cap space entering free agency that kicks off in March.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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RootsCrew
RootsCrew
4 years ago

I’ll be annoyed if they keep Evan Smith to back up whoever our C is next season. Hawley is a good backup, has a nasty streak, and a good connection with Jameis. Plus, he’s cheaper than Smith. I don’t care that Smith can play G and C. He was poor last season and we should move on.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

Being that Smith and Hawley are both FA’s now, wouldn’t mind if they both moved on. Other options out there.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

What other options, that are any good, are out there that will also be cheaper than Hawley? I said we needed a new C after 2016, but Hawley is good depth/backup. Upgrading over him likely will mean more money spent on a backup C.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

Hawley’s main issue, besides being undersized, is that he can really only play C. Not really a fan of Smith either but he’s at least capable of playing both G & C, which is ideally what you want in a backup. Since Koetter’s on record as saying he wants to get the 5 best OL on the field, guessing he waits to see what OL additions are made before declaring Marpet the starting C or G. Like the idea of adding Paradis or Sullivan to start at C and then adding a G/C prospect within the first 3-4 rounds to… Read more »

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
4 years ago

Like Hawley’s play-through-the-whistle mentality, but have to figure there are better options out there, either in free agency or the draft. Like the idea of grabbing a front-line C like Paradis or Sullivan and drafting a G/C like Price or Wynn while moving Marpet back to RG. In the event of injury Marpet or the rookie can always slide back to C if needed. Prefer a bit more size and push up the middle than Hawley provided.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Hawley was too small and got rolled over at times. This is the reason why Marpet is the Center and will remain the Center. Evan Smith can play both Guard positions and back up Marpet.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

You are very observant Horse. Anyone who actually watched the O-line would see Hawley getting steamrolled. Love the spunk he displayed, but he was no match for the DT’s over him.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Ayers is probably next on the release list.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Personally would like to see what Buckner can do with him before we kick him to the curb. Per a recent TBT article, “Ayers generated 45 QB pressures (20th among 4-3 DE’s) and only 2 fewer than GMC, in 200 less snaps. He recorded a “stop” on 8.4 percent of his run snaps last season, the eighth-highest rate among 4-3 defensive ends who played at least 50 percent of their team’s run snaps”. Not saying Ayers is perfect, but there aren’t a ton of quality DE’s just walking around waiting to get picked up. And if you cut him, you’re… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

Someone younger.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

So, even if we added Okafor(27), Ealy(26) or Murphy(27), etc in FA and drafted a DE., you’d rather have Clarke(26), Russell(26), Ward(25) and O’Connor(24) as part of the DE rotation rather than Ayers simply because they’re younger? You do realize part of the reason our DL was so poor last year was because we had very poor quality depth. And your solution is replacing a 9-year veteran with a player who may or not be better, as long as he’s younger? They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, you can add a younger guy to develop AND have Ayers as… Read more »

slaythembucs
slaythembucs
4 years ago

All good moves only if we replace them with better FA’s. Will be an interesting off season as we have several starting and back up positions that need to be filled, Licht and his team have their work cut out for them.

plopes808
plopes808
4 years ago

Gonna miss Hawley’s fire on that Oline but he was definitely undersized for the position. I just hope we aren’t blowing the roster up to the point we won’t be able to fill all the holes.

Carsten
Carsten
4 years ago

Hm…
Am I the only one who liked to have Glanton around? Very productive backup LB. And if we really switch to 3-4 we need more LBs. Don’t understand this move

deeznuts
deeznuts
Reply to  Carsten
4 years ago

He has a compound fracture in his lower leg – he was taken off the field in an air cast against the Falcons late last year. If you watch the video of where his leg breaks, and how it breaks, this move is easier to understand. I liked the guy too, but there’s no way he’s fast enough to play after that injury.

surferdudes
4 years ago

Ayers was horrible last year, keeping him would be a waste. Frankly I don’t know why it’s taking this much time to cut the dead wood on this team.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
4 years ago

The Bucs need to heavily pursue Norwell the G from the Panthers in FA. Make Sweezy restructure to an Evan Smith like contract number, draft another guard in the 1st or 2nd round and make them compete with Sweezy for the other guard spot. If Sweezy loses the battle then he becomes valuable depth for the upcoming season with starting potential. Let Pamphile and Evan Smith walk, they are not special and couldn’t win a job last year outright. This would form the basis of a more productive running game and give Jameis the pocket he needs to step up… Read more »

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  stlbucsfan
4 years ago

Being that he’s another year removed from his back surgery, hoping he’s able to return to form, Agree though, additional competition should definitely be brought in to compete with Sweezy, Benenoch, etc. for the right to start.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
4 years ago

Smith was a good team guy but just not big or strong enough. As for Ayers if he will restructure his contract keep him for depth. I hope the Bucs can sign Norwell. There are certainly alot of holes to fill on both Lines.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Just my opinion but I am all for replacing so so veteran players with the younger players who might become more than just so so.

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
4 years ago

WTF? Hawley is way better than Smith and a good back up to have around.

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
Reply to  Bucsfan1983
4 years ago

*better than Evan Smith