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Bucs release J.R. Sweezy, turn to youth at right guard

Tampa Bay moves on from offensive lineman who missed 2016 with back injury and end of 2017 with broken leg.
 
Bucs guard J.R. Sweezy, helped off the field after breaking his leg in a game in December, was released by the team Friday.
(TIMES FILES | 2017)
Bucs guard J.R. Sweezy, helped off the field after breaking his leg in a game in December, was released by the team Friday. (TIMES FILES | 2017)
Published June 29, 2018|Updated June 30, 2018

TAMPA — The Bucs on Friday released guard J.R. Sweezy, a high-priced free agent addition in 2016 whose two years with the team were marked mostly by injury.

Sweezy, 29, was due to make $6.5 million this year and hadn't practiced with the team this offseason. Two weeks ago Sweezy said he expected to be cleared to return in "a week or two," but clearly the Bucs were confident enough in their other options to not even let him go to training camp and compete.

The Bucs likely will turn to youth at right guard, either in third-year Caleb Benenoch or rookie Alex Cappa, who was drafted in the third round in April out of Division II Humboldt State. Veteran Evan Smith, expected to be a top backup at center and guard, could also get a look at right guard.

RELATED: Bucs' new wild card at right guard: Caleb Benenoch

Sweezy, signed away from the Seahawks in 2016, was diagnosed with a back injury before his first practice with the Bucs and missed that season recovering from surgery. He was the starting right guard for 14 games last year before breaking his fibula in December.

As a result of Sweezy being cut, a prorated bonus accelerates against Tampa Bay's salary cap, but it will still see a cap savings of about $4.6 million by releasing him.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.