Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Bucs Trim Roster to Meet Regular-Season Limit

The team, which actually cut the roster to 52 players for the time being, retained nine rookies, including three who joined the team as undrafted free agents


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the necessary moves on Friday evening to get down to the league-mandated roster limit of 53 players for the start of the regular season.  The Buccaneers released two veteran players and waived 21 others, actually paring the roster to 52 men at this point.  Among those trimmed from the roster on Friday were defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, running back Mossis Madu, tight end Zack Pianalto and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood.

The Buccaneers waived only one of their seven 2012 draft picks: seventh-round tight end Drake Dunsmore.  Here's the complete list of the team's transactions on Friday:


  • DT Frank Okam
  • DT Amobi Okoye (injury settlement)


  • S Larry Asante
  • S Sean Baker
  • WR Landon Cox
  • LB Rennie Curran
  • LB Jacob Cutrera
  • TE Drake Dunsmore
  • K Kai Forbath
  • T Jermarcus Hardrick
  • RB Robert Hughes
  • FB Cody Johnson
  • RB Mossis Madu
  • DT Jordan Nix
  • C Moe Petrus
  • TE Zack Pianalto
  • QB Brett Ratliff
  • CB James Rogers
  • WR Jordan Shipley
  • WR Tiquan Underwood
  • DT Teryl White
  • DL E.J. Wilson
  • G Desmond Wynn (waived/injured)

Vested veterans like Okam and Okoye are not subject to the waiver system and immediately become free agents.  The others can be claimed off waivers by any team or can sign with another club after clearing waivers.

Obviously, the Buccaneers' roster will not remain at 52 players through the weekend, as teams across the league make use of a suddenly very full waiver wire.  General Manager Mark Dominik refers to the period immediately following the "final" roster cutdown each season as the "second draft," as it is an opportunity to add other players the team has interest in.  Recent "second draft" acquisitions include running back LeGarrette Blount and OL Ted Larsen in 2010.

While the official news on cutdown day is about those players who have been let go, the flip side is those players who have overcome the odds to make the regular-season roster.  In addition to the six 2012 draft picks who are on the Bucs' current 52-man roster (S Mark Barron, RB Doug Martin, LB Lavonte David, LB Najee Goode, DB Keith Tandy and RB Michael Smith), three other rookies who joined the team as undrafted free agents are still on the scene.  Those three are Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson, Toledo tight end Danny Noble and Mississippi tackle Bradley Sowell.

The Buccaneers obviously felt as if they had a significant amount of back in the defensive secondary, as the team retained 12 defensive backs, including seven cornerbacks.  Included in that cornerback group was not only the rookie Johnson but also sixth-year veteran Brandon McDonald, who only signed with the team on August 20.

On offense, the team currently has five receivers and four running backs among its skill-position players.  The team also reduced to just two quarterbacks – starter Josh Freeman and back-up Dan Orlovsky – by waiving Brett Ratliff.  That sort of QB depth chart became common in the NFL last year after the NFL changed its game-day active rules from 45 players plus an inactive third quarterback to just 46 players, regardless of position.  Such teams generally carry a third quarterback on the practice squad, as the Bucs did with Rudy Carpenter last year.

Indeed, the Buccaneers will be forming an eight-man practice squad in the coming days, and it would not be surprising to see some of the players listed above return in this capacity.  Last year, for example, the Buccaneers waived rookie safety Ahmad Black during the final cuts, then quickly signed him back to the practice squad.  Black eventually earned a promotion to the active roster and on Friday was once again included on the team's 53-man list.

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