Bucs release veterans Dan Orlovsky, D.J. Ware
The Bucs have foreshadowed their plans at two different positions, releasing backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky and running back D.J. Ware.
Cutting Orlovsky indicates the Bucs will move to acquire a new backup quarterback behind Josh Freeman either through free agency or the draft. The release of Ware suggests they’ll use new-signee Brian Leonard as their third-down running back – a role Ware had last season.
Orlovsky signed a two-year contract entering last season but the Bucs have been trying to upgrade their backup quarterback spot for several weeks. That included their efforts last week to acquire Carson Palmer, who liked the Tampa Bay as a destination but had serious doubts about his ability to beat out Freeman. Palmer ultimately was traded to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick.
The Bucs had been in talks with several other free-agent quarterbacks in recent weeks, including Chase Daniel and Drew Stanton. It’s unclear whether the team already has plans to sign a quarterback. Adam Weber, who has never appeared in a regular-season NFL game, is the only other quarterback on the roster behind Freeman.
Ware joined the Bucs just prior to last season, immediately taking on the role of third-down back behind rookie starter Doug Martin. But Ware was used sparingly, rushing just 11 times for 51 yards and catching 14 passes for 100 yards.
Leonard, who played for Bucs coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers, could have a larger role, particularly as a receiver.