The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released three players -- punters Josh Bidwell and Dirk Johnson, and cornerback Torrie Cox -- Thursday just hours before the official start of the free agent signing period. More cuts likely will be made as the Bucs acquire new players this offseason.
The free agent signing period is set to begin at midnight, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already made a few roster moves.
On Thursday, the Bucs released punters Josh Bidwell, Dirk Johnson and cornerback Torrie Cox.
Bidwell, 33, had been with the Bucs since 2004. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $1 million and had two years remaining on his contract. Bidwell was in the process of recovering from season-ending hip surgery he underwent in training camp. Johnson was signed after Bidwell's injury, but landed on injured reserve later in the year after injuring his leg on a fake punt attempt at Atlanta.
Cox was a sixth-round pick with the Bucs in 2003. Cox, whose base salary in 2010 was scheduled to be $1.1 million, was a reserve cornerback, but made some significant contributions on special teams when healthy.
In addition, Tampa Bay officially announced it has tendered contracts to eight restricted players, including tackle Donald Penn, tackle Jeremy Trueblood, running back Cadillac Williams, linebacker Barrett Ruud, wide receiver Maurice Stovall, wide receiver Mark Bradley, cornerback Elbert Mack and running back Clifton Smith.
The Bucs didn't tender contracts to the following restricted free agents: wide receiver Brian Clark, linebacker Matt McCoy, linebacker Rod Wilson and fullback Byron Storer. These players are now unrestricted free agents.
Tampa Bay likely will release or trade more players as it acquires new ones throughout the offseason.
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