After six years on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' active roster – tied for the longest tenure of any quarterback in team history – Ryan Griffin was released on Tuesday during the league-wide cutdown to 53 players per team. But Griffin's stay in Tampa is not coming to an end.
On Wednesday, after hundreds of players around the league cleared waivers, the Buccaneers began the process of forming their first practice squad of 2021. The Bucs officially signed 10 players to that unit, including Griffin, leaving six spots still to fill. The remainder of the practice squad will likely be fleshed out on Thursday before the team returns to the practice field.
With Griffin remaining in the fold the Buccaneers will have four quarterbacks in the building, just as they did last year while navigating the pandemic. And Griffin will still be throwing to tight end Codey McElroy and wide receivers Cyril Grayson and Travis Jonsen, three other players signed to the practice squad on Wednesday.
Nine of the 10 players the Buccaneers signed on Wednesday were among those waived or released by the team on Tuesday, with the sole newcomer being former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Deon Yelder. Those 10 players are:
· WR Cyril Grayson
· QB Ryan Griffin
· T Jonathan Hubbard
· WR Travis Jonsen
· TE Codey McElroy
· CB Herb Miller
· DL Benning Potoa'e
· DL Kobe Smith
· T Brandon Walton
· TE Deon Yelder
The Buccaneers kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, with Griffin ceding his spot from last year to second-round rookie Kyle Trask. Blaine Gabbert was kept as the primary backup to starter Tom Brady. Griffin first arrived in Tampa as a waiver claim in September of 2015 and subsequently signed three new contracts as he remained on the roster for six years. That matches Trent Dilfer for the most consecutive seasons by a quarterback on Tampa Bay's roster.
Grayson and Jonsen showed promise during training camp and the preseason but were working behind a very deep and talented receiving group. The Bucs kept six wideouts on the active roster, headlined by the starting trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown. Fourth-round rookie Jaelon Darden got one of those six spots largely due to his work as a return man.
The Buccaneers kept just three tight ends on the 53-man roster after carrying four for most of last season, as both McElroy and Tanner Hudson were waived on Tuesday. They added depth back to the room by getting McElroy back and bringing in Yelder, who was waived by Tennessee in mid-August. Yelder originally entered the league with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky in 2018, but he ended up in Kansas City, appearing in 26 games over the past three seasons. Yelder played against the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV for the Chiefs, seeing six snaps on offense.
Hubbard and Walton were both late-camp additions to the Bucs' roster after the team experienced a rash of injuries along the offensive line, and both clearly made quick impressions. Hubbard spent last season on Miami's practice squad while Walton, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on August 17, was on the Steelers' practice squad for most of 2020.
Miller, Potoa'e and Smith are all back after spending all or the majority of last season on Tampa Bay's practice squad. The Buccaneers kept five cornerbacks on the active roster, with newcomer Dee Delaney winning the last spot in the preseason, but cut three on Tuesday in Miller, Chris Wilcox and Antonio Hamilton. Wilcox was claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts. Though he remained on the practice squad for all 20 weeks of the 2020 season, Miller was able to play in four games via the new practice-squad elevation rule, and he secured his first career interception at Detroit in Week 16.