Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Trim Roster to 53

WR Kenny Bell, sixth-round draft pick TE Danny Vitale and rookie running backs Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough were among the players waived Saturday.

The Buccaneers' 53-Man roster.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially cut their roster to 53 players on Saturday to meet the NFL-mandated regular-season limit. That required 22 roster moves, which included the waivers of 21 players, three with injury designations, and the release of one vested veteran.

The following players were waived (waived/injured as noted):

  • G Josh Allen
  • LB Micah Awe
  • RB Peyton Barber
  • WR Kenny Bell (injured)
  • DE Kourtnei Brown
  • CB Javien Elliott
  • DT A.J. Francis
  • LB Jeremiah George
  • C Ben Gottschalk
  • RB Russell Hansbrough
  • S Isaiah Johnson
  • T Kyler Kerbyson
  • LB Josh Keyes
  • WR Jonathan Krause
  • TE Kivon Cartwright (injured)
  • WR Freddie Martino
  • S Kimario McFadden
  • OL Kelvin Palmer
  • WR Bernard Reedy (injured)
  • LB Luke Rhodes
  • TE Danny Vitale

The following vested veteran was released:

  • DT Cliff Matthews

With hundreds of players getting released throughout the league on Saturday, it is a misnomer to label these moves the "final cuts." The Buccaneers and other teams frequently tweak their rosters in the days following the cut-down to 53 as players in which they are interested become available. In addition, the Buccaneers will form a 10-man practice squad over the next few days, and most of the players let go on Saturday will be eligible if they are not claimed by other teams.

"It's just a sad day, man," said linebacker Kwon Alexander, who was among the 53 players the Buccaneers kept. "[We] bring them brothers in like a family, then most of them get cut. But we've got to stick together, you know? This is what we have right now. We're going to miss those guys. I hope they can find a team – or even get back on this team – but I'll be praying for them. I wish them the best."

Of the 22 players removed from the roster Saturday, 7 had been with the team for at least a portion of the 2015 season, either on the active roster or the practice squad: Allen, Bell, Brown, George, Gottschalk, Keyes and McFadden. George and Keyes played in 15 and seven games, respectively, primarily on special teams. Bell, a fifth-round pick in 2015, spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

The Buccaneers kept six of their seven 2016 draft picks on the first 53-man roster, including first-round cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, second-round defensive end Noah Spence, second-round kicker Roberto Aguayo, fourth-round safety Ryan Smith, fifth-round guard Caleb Benenoch and sixth-round linebacker Devante Bond. The exception was sixth-round tight end Danny Vitale, the last player chosen by the team in May. The current roster includes 14 players who have been drafted in the three seasons since the arrival of General Manager Jason Licht.

Fifteen of the 22 men on Saturday's list were either rookies or first-year players. The exceptions were Brown, Bell, Keyes and Krause, all considered second-year players; third-year men Francis and George; and Matthews, a fifth-year veteran. As a player with four accrued seasons, Matthew was the only one on the list not subject to the waiver wire, thus immediately becoming a free agent.

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