Two-time leading rusher LeGarrette Blount saw his role reduced with the Bucs last season and on Saturday he was given a fresh start with another team.
Tampa Bay traded Blount to the New England Patriots for a seventh-round pick and the rights to former Florida running back/kick returner Jeff Demps.
General manager Mark Dominik has been attempting to trade Blount since the end of the 2012 season.
"LeGarrette is going into the final year of his contract,'' Dominik said. "We've had LeGarrette here for a couple different staffs and all I can tell you is LeGarrette has been a good player for us but we felt like as an organization, this was best for our football team.''
Demps, who is an Olympic sprinter, has said he wants to concentrate on running track and play football. The Bucs attempted to sign Demps as a free agent last season and seem willing to work with his track schedule.
Demps played in the final two preseason games for the Patriots last season but was placed on injured reserve, even though it was not believed he was hurt seriously.
"Certainly, we understand what he's doing,'' Dominik said of Demps. "We're just taking the rights to see what happens. It's a player we obviously practiced with in Tampa when the Patriots came down. He played in our (preseason) game and had a good game against us. We're going to walk and talk with him. But the reason was not Jeff Demps. We were going to do LeGarrette Blount for a seventh-round pick but we asked for the rights to Jeff Demps because we want to investigate that further.
Blount was claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans in 2010 and made an immediate impact. As a rookie, he rushed for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. In 2011, Blount missed two games with a knee injury but still led the team in rushing with 781 yards and five touchdowns.
But the arrival of Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin last season ended Blount's run as the team's premier back. Blount had only eight carries in Tampa Bay's final nine games of 2012. Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team.
The Bucs didn't waste any time replacing Blount. Minutes after the deal with New England, they traded up in the sixth round with the Minnesota Vikings (189 overall) to select University of Miami running back Mike James.