Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Claim Five Off Waivers

Once again making use of its #1 waiver priority, Tampa Bay claimed five players off waivers after Saturday's cut, including help at defensive end and linebacker and a third quarterback.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were definitely ready to take advantage of the biggest waiver wire of the year. Their "second draft" was almost as big as their first one.

On Sunday, the Buccaneers announced the claims of a whopping five players off waivers, the day after the NFL's 32 teams trimmed their rosters from 75 to 53 players each and sent hundreds of hopefuls to the wire. Those claims necessitated five additional cuts for the Buccaneers. Here's the entire list of Sunday's waiver wire activity in Tampa:

PLAYERS CLAIMED:

  • DE Kourtnei Brown (from Houston)
  • LB Jeremiah George (from Jacksonville)
  • QB Ryan Griffin (from New Orleans)
  • LB James-Michael Johnson (from Kansas City)
  • C Eric Kush (from Kansas City)

PLAYERS WAIVED/RELEASED:

  • TE Cameron Brate
  • G Kadeem Edwards*
  • T Reid Fragel
  • WR Rannell Hall
  • LB Jason Williams*
    • As a vested veteran, Williams was released and is not subject to waivers. Edwards was waived/injured; he and the other three players will go through waivers.

*

Not surprisingly, Sunday's complementary moves evened out the numbers on the offensive and defensive sides of the depth chart a little bit, after Saturday's cuts left the Bucs with 28 players on offense and 22 on defense. Brown adds needed depth to a defensive end position that was left with just three players after the cuts and the move of Larry English to injured reserve. Even offset by the release of Williams, the Bucs pushed their linebacking corps back to six players with the additions of George and Johnson.*

Meanwhile, the Bucs reduced their depth at wide receiver from six to five and at tight end from four to the more common number of three for that position. The offensive line went from 11 to 10 players, including injured tackle Demar Dotson. Perhaps most surprisingly, the claim of Griffin gives the Bucs three quarterbacks on the active roster. If that remains the case into the regular season, it will be a departure from recent seasons, in which the team has carried just two active quarterbacks, with a third one on the practice squad.

Brown (6-4, 253) will be moving on to his seventh NFL club after spending the preseason with the Houston Texans. He first entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. Brown has since spent time in Washington, Buffalo, Detroit, St. Louis and Houston, first joining the Texans' practice squad last year. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game. Brown made several big plays during Houston's preseason – all of it chronicled in detail by HBO's "Hard Knocks" program – including three sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception returned 69 yards for a touchdown.

*

Photos from the Buccaneers' preseason game against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.

The 5-11, 234-pound George gets a chance to play for his hometown team. The Clearwater native starred at Clearwater High School, where he was the St. Petersburg Times Pinellas County Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He played his college ball at Iowa State before being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Jets in 2014. George started his rookie season on New York's practice squad before being signed off that crew to the Jacksonville Jaguars' active roster. He appeared in six games last year, and was the Jaguars' leading tackler this preseason with 21 stops.*

Griffin (6-5, 206) has spent the last two years in the New Orleans Saints organization, alternating between the active roster and the practice squad. He has not yet appeared in a regular-season game. He originally signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2013, staying close to his collegiate home of Tulane, where he set school records for career attempts, completions and completion percentage. Griffin started his rookie year on the Saints' practice squad before getting a promotion to the active roster at midseason. He was on the practice squad all of last year.

Johnson (6-1, 241) is the most experienced of the five players claimed by the Bucs Sunday, as he has appeared in 42 NFL games with 18 starts over three seasons in the league. Johnson was originally drafted by Cleveland in the fourth round out of Nevada in 2012, and he spent his first season with the Browns, playing in 10 games with eight starts. He was waived in the final cuts in 2013 and claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs; in two years in Kansas City, Johnson played in all 32 games with 10 starts and contributed 68 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

*

Behind the Scenes in Miami. August 24, 2013.

The second of two Chiefs cuts to end up in Tampa, the 6-4, 313-pound Kush spent two seasons in Kansas City after being drafted in the sixth round out of the California University of Pennsylvania in 2013. He was a gameday inactive for much of the that time but did appear in three games as a rookie, with one start. Kush played both center and tackle during his four collegiate seasons, starting 31 games.

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