The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived cornerback Vernon Hargreaves on Tuesday, ending the three-and-a-half year tenure of the team's 2016 first-round draft pick.
General Manager Jason Licht addressed the move, which was made after he consulted with Head Coach Bruce Arians.
"After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, Coach Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change," said Licht. "Decisions such as this are always difficult, but we felt it was in the best interest of our team to part ways with Vernon at this time and allow him to explore other opportunities. We are disappointed that it did not work out here for Vernon and we wish him continued success moving forward."
Hargreaves started the first nine games of the 2019 season and recorded 40 tackles, one interception, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery. The Buccaneers have been trying out different combinations with their young secondary in recent weeks and Hargreaves was on the field for 46 of 70 snaps in Sunday's win over Arizona. After his waiver, the Buccaneers have five cornerbacks on the active roster, including Ryan Smith and four players drafted in the last two years – Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and M.J. Stewart. Davis has missed the last two games with a hip injury but the rookie Dean has broken up eight passes in that span, including a crucial interception against Arizona.
In total, Hargreaves appeared in 35 games for the Buccaneers, with 33 starts, and produced 164 tackles, four tackles for loss, 19 passes defensed, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown. He was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of the University of Florida.
The Buccaneers did not immediately announce a corresponding move to fill the open spot on the 53-man roster.