The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use all four of their practice squad protection options in Week Seven, and while most of the names are familiar the list does include wide receiver Cyril Grayson for the first time. The Buccaneers submitted their list one day after releasing wide receiver Jaydon Mickens from the active roster.
The other three protected players in Week Seven are kicker Jose Borregales, safety Troy Warner and tight end Deon Yelder. Borregales has now been protected in each of the last six weeks, Warner for the third week in a row and Yelder for the fifth time overall. Yelder was also elevated from the practice squad for last week's game at Philadelphia after tight end Rob Gronkowski was ruled out for the third game in a row.
The option to protect a limited number of practice squad players from being signed away by other teams was one of a number of new rules adopted regarding the practice squad in 2020 to give teams more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The NFL elected to keep those rules in place for 2021.
By protecting those four players, the Buccaneers made sure that any or all of them would be available for game day elevation or a full promotion to the active roster prior to Thursday's game. Yelder has one standard elevation remaining while the other three players on the list have both elevation options left. Grayson has played in five regular-season games over the past two seasons, recording one catch for three yards. He could also add value as a punt and kickoff returner.
Each week, a team can submit a list of up to four players on its practice squad that other teams are prohibited from signing to their active rosters. In a normal week with a Sunday game, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day. No players are protected on Monday or on Tuesday before the deadline, so every practice squad player will still have opportunities to sign elsewhere, even with the protected spots.