Usually roster cut deadline weekend is all about focusing on which players a team is keeping. But, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the bigger news out of the weekend is surely the signing of three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward. The news was first reported by NFL Network’s James Palmer.

Ward was previously with the Denver Broncos before he was cut this weekend – mainly due to financial reasons. He was elected to the Pro Bowl each year from 2013-2015 (two with Denver, and one with Cleveland, where he previously played).

Ward will sign a 1-year deal with Tampa, which can earn him up to $5 million if he hits his incentives. Ward will be 31 years old by the end of the 2017 season, and though his production has dropped slightly, he is still considered one of the top playmaking safeties in the NFL. Ward has 564 tackles, 42 pass breakups, 10 forced fumbles, 8.5 sacks, eight interceptions and three fumble recoveries in his seven seasons in the NFL.

Ward’s signing could mean the release of one of the current safeties on the Bucs’ roster. Due to the team’s trust in veteran Keith Tandy, and the investment they have in rookie Justin Evans, it likely won’t be either of them. It is also unlikely to be Josh Robinson, who is labeled a safety, but is really on the roster for his special teams ability.

That leaves J.J. Wilcox and Chris Conte. Both do have guaranteed money with the Buccaneers, so parting ways with either will cost a small amount of cap to eat – Wilcox is owed $3.1 million, Conte is owed $2.5 million. However, those two seem to be the likely choice due to the position Ward will take, and their performances this preseason.

Once Ward passes his physical, we’ll see if the Bucs choose to cut a player loose or continue with a glut of personnel at the safety position.

PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema will have an in-depth Cover 3 column on what kind of skills and traits Ward brings to the Buccaneers on Tuesday.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Patrick J Ellsworth
3 years ago

Any injury concerns with Ward? What a shocking release!!

Dman
3 years ago

Like the signing… We still need help in the trenches on both sides of the ball. No likely to find any gems the cuts, but let’s see what happens next few days. Any thoughts on trades?

Plank
3 years ago

Sweet, even with all the moves we’ve made, I’m still very glad to have him this year … great move!

CDNBUCSFAN
3 years ago

I like the move. Reports are that he is also great in the locker room and still has plenty left in the tank. Here’s where having a bit of cap room helps out. He’ll do very well in a Mike Smith defence.

macabee
3 years ago

Two thumbs up to my Bucs for signing S TJ Ward. It’s $4m base, with upside to make $5m. My opinion, the Bucs don’t have to cut anybody. S Justin Evans has not fully recovered from his injury as shown in his preseason play. I would move Evans to IR, give him a chance to properly heal, study the art of tackling, and adjust to the NFL game. As a 2nd round pick, this is not likely to happen but still my opinion. A few weeks back, I penned a post that the Bucs were not making the moves of… Read more »

Dman
Reply to  macabee
3 years ago

Like your thought on Boone, moving Webster to PS. I would put Evans on PUP to add Ward, best way for him to learn is to play. Get him the the field on special teams. Still need help on D line.

macabee
Reply to  Dman
3 years ago

I like your thinking Dman, but can’t use PUP. Active PUP ends when regular season starts. Only option is reserve PUP. By NFL rule, if a player practices for one minute during preseason, he is not eligible for reserve PUP. Evans is not eligible for reserve PUP. Could go to IR to return, but why? Can’t return for 6 weeks, can practice for 2 weeks, must be activated by 8 weeks, then to return somebody else must be cut.

Dman
Reply to  macabee
3 years ago

Appreciate the explanation mac. Evans is more raw than I had hoped so looking for a way to get him on the field this season. Let’s see the Bucs do.

Horse
3 years ago

Safety and DE was my concern for quite awhile; now if we can fine a DE we will be much improved. Go Bucs!

pinkstob
3 years ago

I like the move. I had just posted in the 53 man roster article how I was really worried about this secondary. Now I’m less worried.