The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Jaydon Mickens to their practice squad on Wednesday, two days after he was waived from the active roster. No corresponding move was necessary as the Buccaneers had an open spot on the practice squad since promoting defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter last Wednesday.
Mickens handled most of the Buccaneers' punt and kickoff return duties for the first nine games of the season before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list in Week 10. After three weeks on that list, Mickens was activated on November 30 as the team began its bye week. He was then waived on Monday when the team promoted running back Kenjon Barner from the practice squad.
In essence, Tampa Bay switched the spots of Barner and Mickens, with the former likely to take over some or all of the return duties for the remainder of the season. The team could still make Mickens available for a game day by using up to two practice squad elevations on him. In contrast, Barner had already used up his allotted elevations, including a third one as a COVID replacement for Mickens in Week 11. The switch gives Head Coach Bruce Arians more balance between his skill position units.
"Right now, I can't dress seven receivers on Sunday," said Arians. "Kenjon Barner does a heck of a job as a kick returner also, so rather than having seven receivers and three backs, I'd rather have four running backs. 'Mick' has done a heck of a job for us."
Prior to his waiver, Mickens returned 15 punts for 99 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt with 12 fair catches and ran back 12 kickoffs for 289 yards, averaging 24.1 yards per return. He also caught seven passes for 58 yards, all but two of those coming in a Week Eight Monday night game against the New York Giants.