Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs cuts include ex-Gators Major Wright, Solomon Patton, Jeff Demps

TAMPA — The Bucs made their final eight cuts Saturday to arrive at their 53-man roster, with three Gators among the most surprising players released.

Undrafted rookie Solomon Patton, who seemed to have both return jobs locked up, was waived, as was former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps, who wasn't able to showcase his elite speed in preseason action. And veteran safety Major Wright, who had 100 tackles for the Bears last season, was released after working as the team's No. 3 safety throughout the past month.

All six 2014 draft picks made the roster for the Bucs, who had several under-the-radar players make the cut (for now). That included undrafted rookie Josh Allen of Louisiana-Monroe, now the team's backup center; defensive end Scott Solomon, who had just 16 snaps in the NFL last season; guard Rishaw Johnson, acquired from the Chiefs last week; and fullback Jorvorskie Lane and nickel defensive back Quinton Pointer, signed off the street in the spring.

In all, 24 of the 53 players joined the Bucs in 2014, and another three were on the team last year but didn't play a down; linebacker Danny Lansanah played one game. So half the roster hasn't played for Tampa Bay, emblematic of the busy offseason under first-year coach Lovie Smith and first-year general manager Jason Licht.

"It's one of my hardest days," Smith said Friday as the team cut 14 players, including veteran kicker Connor Barth, "when you've been around a lot of guys and you have to give them bad news, as much as anything. That's what's kind of going on right now. … A lot of moving parts are going on while we're going through this process."

There are signs the team isn't done tweaking its roster — there are only three healthy safeties, with backup Bradley McDougald nursing a knee injury, so the club might have an addition coming to offset the loss of Wright.

There are 10 offensive linemen, two more than the team opened with last year — those 10 include four who have never played in an NFL game.

Local Gator fans had hoped to see the speed of Demps and Patton, but the team will go in a different direction on returns, perhaps to No. 2 running back Bobby Rainey, who averaged 10 yards on three punt returns in preseason.

In addition to the three Gators, the Bucs cut five other players: defensive tackles Matt Masifilo and Ronald Talley, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Brandon Magee and quarterback Mike Kafka.

Making the cut was defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers, who had missed the past three games with a groin injury but showed enough, with versatility to play inside as a third-down defensive tackle as well.

Starting at noon today, the Bucs can assemble a 10-player practice squad, which could include Kafka, as well as undrafted rookies who missed the cut such as Brate, linebacker Nate Askew and cornerback Keith Lewis. Tampa Bay also could claim players waived or released as other teams made their cuts to 53 on Saturday.

Another roster spot should open up in a few days, when rookie running back Charles Sims is expected to be tagged as "injured reserve-designated for return," which will allow him to recover from ankle surgery and return in Week 9.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Published: 06/23/18
Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Published: 06/23/18
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Published: 06/22/18
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Published: 06/22/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Published: 06/22/18
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Published: 06/22/18
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Published: 06/22/18
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18