TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made 38 moves Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look:
Most significant move: The Bucs released veteran defensive end George Johnson. In 2015, the Bucs traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Johnson, whom they also received a seventh round pick for. Had Johnson been on the Bucs' roster for the first week of the season, his base salary of $2.25 million would have been guaranteed. Johnson started five games for the Bucs two seasons ago but struggled. He spent the 2016 season on injured reserve with a fractured hip. His best season came in 2014 when he registered six sack in a reserve role with the Lions.
The Bucs also parted way with running back Jeremy McNichols, whom they selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft. McNichols' struggles grasping the Bucs' offense and in pass protection were well-documented on the HBO show "Hard Knocks," and he didn't do much to impress in the fourth preseason game. How bad is it for a rookie fifth-round draft pick to be cut? According to ESPN Stats & Information, 33 of the 36 players drafted in fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft played in at least one regular season game. In 2015, 32 out of 40 players drafted in the fifth round played in at least one regular season game that year.
Bernard Reedy wins fifth receiver spot: Bernard Reedy beat out Freddie Martino for the final receiver spot behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin. Reedy, who was on the practice squad last year and was active for the final two games, is more of a slot receiver and can contribute significantly on special teams as both a punt and kick returner.
Bucs keep five tight ends: O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Luke Stocker, Alan Cross and Antony Auclair all made the 53-man roster. While five tight ends might seem like a lot, the Bucs don't carry a traditional fullback. Instead, they divide their tight ends up into three groups: in-line tight end, H-back and fullback, and they cross-train each player in these roles. That doesn't mean they'll all actually play in these roles. For example, as a "move" tight end, Brate's strength isn't as a blocker, so you won't see in him a traditional fullback role like you would from Luke Stocker.
Who is the long-snapper? The Bucs parted ways with both Andrew DePaola and Garrison Sanborn, meaning they currently don't have a long-snapper on the 53-man roster. However, if the Bucs decide to move quarterback Ryan Griffin over to injured reserve, they can re-sign him.
Released (29): WR Josh Huff, WR Jesus Wilson, WR Donteea Dye Jr., WR Shaq Hill, WR Freddie Martino, RB Jeremy McNichols, RB Russell Hansbrough, OG Mike Liedtke, OG James Stone, OT Korren Kirven, OL Josh Allen, OT Marquis Lucas, OG Jarvis Harrison, TE Tevin Westbrook, TE/FB Austin Johnson, DE Mehdi Abdesmad, DE Sterling Bailey, DE Tavaris Barnes, DE Hendrick Ekpe, LB Eric Nzeocha*, LB Richie Brown, LB Riley Bullough, LB Jeff Knox, CB Mariel Cooper, CB Vernon Harris, CB Jonathan Moxey, DB Cody Riggs, S Isaiah Johnson, K Zach Hocker, LS Andrew DePaola.
*Eric Nzeocha will automatically revert to the practice squad. The Bucs and all other NFC South teams were given special roster exemptions to have one international player on their practice squad as part of the NFL's new International Pathway Program. He is ineligible for the 53-man roster.
Terminated vested veteran (4): DE George Johnson, S Marqueston Huff, LS Garrison Sanborn.
Waived/injured (1): QB Sefo Liufau. Jude Adjei-Barimah was also waived/injured last week and after going unclaimed will revert to injured reserve, a source told ESPN.
Reserve/Suspended list (1): RB Doug Martin.
Active/PUP list (1): DE Jacquies Smith.