Demonstrating once again that the term "final cuts" is a misnomer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to shape their regular-season roster on Tuesday, three days after the league-wide cut to 53. In this case, the Buccaneers tweaked their defensive line depth, signing fourth-year defensive end Will Clarke and releasing second-year defensive tackle Channing Ward.
Tampa Bay's defensive line coach, Jay Hayes, is familiar with Clarke having coached him for two seasons (2014-15) in Cincinnati. Clarke was the Bengals' third-round pick in 2014, selected 88th overall. Last year, he was a rotational end for Cincinnati, playing in all 16 games and contributing 4.0 sacks, 15 tackles and one pass defensed.
Overall, in three seasons with the Bengals, Clarke appeared in 35 games and recorded 4.5 sacks, 22 tackles and two passes defensed. He went to training camp with Cincinnati again this summer but was waived during the aforementioned cuts on Saturday.
Clarke (6-6, 275) played his college ball at West Virginia, starting 34 of the 41 games in which he played over four seasons. That included 22 starts at end and another 12 on the inside. His Mountaineers career totals included 9.5 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss and seven passes defensed.
Ward made the Bucs' roster as an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi in 2016, appearing in five games with one start and recording five tackles. He once again survived the initial cut to 53 this summer before Tuesday's maneuvers.