The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even with no practices, are testing their roster. Some names from 2019 and earlier will not make this roster. The team has added Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and rookies to the team. Once the team can practice, there will be individuals to watch as it may involve them in some camp battles to keep their job.
Backing Up Brady
After five years serving as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers backup quarterback, Ryan Griffin’s replacement may be on the roster. During his tenure with the team, Griffin has shown flashes in pre-season but has had a brief opportunity to play. He has only seen action in two games in 2019. When fans were calling for Jameis Winston to be benched during the previous season, they called for Griffin to take the field. When Winston was injured, fans clamored at a chance to see Griffin take control of this offense. It wasn’t meant to be. So if he was not chosen to come in during those moments, he’s not needed on this roster.
Griffin’s lack of use makes him expendable and can save the team $1.75 million dollars.
Reid Sinnett was signed shortly after the draft. Coming out of the University of San Diego he only played one season. Apparently it was enough for the Buccaneers to sign the undrafted talent to a three-year contract. Being a proficient passer, maybe Sinnett can take Griffin’s spot with the hopes he can develop into a true starter. To do so, he will have to develop quickly. The 2019 season saw him post 3,528 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He boasts a 66.9% completion percentage from 2019.
Sinnett will make $620,000 this year. With Griffin released the team saves $1.13 million. If Sinnett can beat out Griffin in camp he’ll be quarterback number three.
The Buccaneers looked to the draft to further improve the offense around Brady. In the third round, the Buccaneers selected Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and in the seventh-round; they selected Raymond Calais. These two should increase the depth at running back and improve the team. That means there are players who were a part of the 2019 team that will have to find a new home.
Dare Ogunbowale, primarily used in the passing game, may have to find a new home if he can’t beat out Calais in camp or preseason. Ogunbowale was abysmal in rushing and is an obvious indication to defenses as the Buccaneers play call while on the field. He is due $675,000 in 2020. Ogunbowale may find himself with an invitation to the Buccaneers practice squad.
Ogunbowale is still practice squad qualified since 2019 was his only full accrued year in the NFL. A player is qualified if they have fewer than two accrued years in the NFL which comprises of six or more games in a season.
T.J. Logan is surely on the chopping block at this point. He’s only had five rushing attempts and nine receptions in his two years in the NFL. This production does not warrant the $825,000 he is to make this year. Carrying no dead money, Logan will have to look for work elsewhere. Along the same lines as Logan, Aca’Cedric Ware can make $780,000 this year.
Out Wide and in the Slot
The strongest group for sure looks to have three spots locked up. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and rookie Tyler Johnson. The Buccaneers will carry around five to six wideouts so who looks to stay in place? With the number of tight ends on this roster, I could foresee the team only carrying five on the active roster.
Scott Miller is still young. At 22 years old, he has room to grow and learn to use his speed as a weapon. As coach Bruce Arians has pointed out, he jumps or has an extra unnecessary movement that keeps him from being a consistent weapon. He should remain on the team.
For the fifth and possibly last wide receiver spot, the likes of Justin Watson, undrafted rookie Josh Pearson, and others will battle it out. Pearson may have an advantage over the other wide receivers for the fifth spot with his 4.46 speed. This camp battle will be an interesting one. The Buccaneers lost Evans and Godwin at the end of the season and saw speedster Breshad Perriman shine. Who can step up in their absence?
Deep at Tight End
Outside of the signing of Brady, the addition of Rob Gronkowski was the second-largest piece of news for this team. The Buccaneers traded a fourth-round pick to the New England Patriots to gain his services and bring him out of retirement. His spot is cemented in.
Behind him, O.J. Howard had his fifth-year option picked up and is due $3.53 million in pay all guaranteed. He is an insurance policy. If he can live up to his potential with Brady, then he can replace Gronk in 2021 and look to be retained by the team. With his size, 6’6″ 251 pounds, and 4.5 speed, he may finally become a genuine threat.
Cameron Brate restructured his contract to help the Buccaneers out with cap space. He is due $4.25 million and on contract through 2023. The Buccaneers would be hard-pressed to trade Brate after he restructured. The message it would send to other players on this team, especially if approached to restructure, would be detrimental to the handling of future contracts and players. He will remain on the team as the third tight end.
Antony Auclair has been a good contributor. He could, if needed, fill in for any of the three above. He also owns $800,000 in dead money on a $1.25 million dollar contract. That leaves three others on the roster.
Jordan Leggett, Codey McElroy, and Tanner Hudson all fall into a group that looks to battle it out for the fifth and final roster spot. Each has had limited snaps and contributions. Whether two of these players leave this group remains strong for the Buccaneers.
The starting line up will see little shake-ups, but the depth really helps a team win a championship. Injuries happen. They need an in-game break. Those players coming in for them can make or break a team. Either way, camp, and pre-season will shape a new roster to make a run at the Super Bowl!
For more, follow us on twitter @Bucs_Report and me at @BucSalty!