The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have activated fourth-year cornerback Ryan Smith from the exempt list, which means he will be eligible to play against New Orleans this Sunday. It also means that Smith now counts against the 53-man roster limit, which necessitated a complementary move, in this case the waiver of outside linebacker Demone Harris.
Smith had been on the exempt list since Monday, when he returned from a four-game suspension levied by the commissioner due to a violation of the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. He could have remained exempt through next Monday but then he wouldn't have had the opportunity to play in New Orleans. The Bucs likely see Smith's presence as an immediate boost to their special teams, an area in which he has excelled the past two seasons, with two tackles and a forced fumble.
Smith also started 16 games at cornerback during those two seasons, recording 99 tackles, one interception, 11 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. In all, he has played in 45 games since being drafted in the fourth round (108th overall) in 2016.
Harris made the 53-man roster to start the season but has been inactive for three of the first four games. He saw action in Week Three against the New York Giants and also played in two games late last season.