Kenny Bell won't be a part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster in 2015, but Adam Humphries will.
The Buccaneers placed Bell on injured reserve on Saturday as one of the 22 moves they needed to make to reach the NFL-mandated regular-season limit of 53 players. Da'Quan Bowers, Patrick Omameh and the kicking pair of Connor Barth and Patrick Murray were among the notable players waived or released in the same flurry of moves. Conversely, Humphries, fellow rookie wide receiver Rannell Hall and tight end Cameron Brate were among the most interesting names of those kept among the 53.
Below are the 22 roster moves the Buccaneers' revealed on Saturday evening. Some of these cuts took place on Friday or earlier on Saturday, but the team did not officially announce any moves until after the NFL's waiver wire had been processed.
- Waived CB Jude Adjei-Barimah
- Released K Connor Barth
- Placed WR Kenny Bell on injured reserve
- Released DT Da'Quan Bowers
- Waived WR Kaelin Clay
- Waived T Edawn Coughman
- Waived DE Ryan Delaire
- Released LB Larry Dean
- Waived CB Brandon Dixon
- Waived WR Donteea Dye
- Placed DE Larry English on injured reserve
- Waived CB Isaiah Frey
- Waived/injured G Garrett Gilkey
- Waived LB Khaseem Greene
- Waived S Chris Hackett
- Waived LB Josh Keyes
- Waived WR Tavarres King
- Waived QB Seth Lobato
- Waived DT Caushaud Lyons
- Waived/injured K Patrick Murray
- Waived T/G Patrick Omameh
- Released DE Lawrence Sidbury, Jr.
Bell was the Buccaneers' fifth-round pick this past spring out of Nebraska and he got off to a very good start in offseason workouts and training camp. However, he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the last two preseason games and did not record a reception in the other two. The unfortunately premature end to his rookie season may have opened the door for Humphries, who offers potential help to the Buccaneers both as a true slot receiver and on kick returns.
The Buccaneers also kept Hall, an impressive undrafted rookie out of Central Florida, over sixth-round draft pick Kaelin Clay. With Hall and Humphries sticking around, the team will start the season with six receivers, as those two join starters Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and reserves Louis Murphy and Russell Shepard.
Omameh was the Buccaneers' starting right guard for all of 2014 but had been working at offensive tackle throughout 2015. Behind injured starter Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith, the potential rookie starter at left tackle, the Buccaneers kept veteran Gosder Cherilus – a late-camp signee after the injury to Dotson – and second-year players Kevin Pamphile and Reid Fragel to protect the edges of the line. With interior reserves Kadeem Edwards, Jeremiah Warren and Matthew Masifilo also making the cut, the team currently has 11 offensive linemen among their 53 players.
Of course, the NFL-wide "final cuts" don't really signify a final roster. The Buccaneers could take advantage of the annual "second draft" that follows the release of Saturday's waiver wire to shore up positions lacking in depth. It's worth noting, for instance, that the season-ending injury to English left the Bucs with just three defensive ends on the roster, though defensive tackles Henry Melton and William Gholston could provide some help outside. The Bucs also kept four tight ends and five running backs but just five linebackers and four safeties. All told, Saturday's moves left the Bucs' depth chart with 28 players on offense and 22 on defense.
Those four tight ends include second-year player Cameron Brate, a former undrafted free agent out of Harvard who impressed in a brief stint on the active roster last year. Brate joins Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker working under an offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, who has a history of maximizing the impact of that position.
Tampa Bay also chose not to choose when it came to its tailback position, keeping both Bobby Rainey and Mike James to back up Doug Martin and Charles Sims. The team also retained the services of fullback Jorvorskie Lane for a second consecutive season; Lane stood alone on the depth chart after the waiver earlier in the week of fullback Joey Iosefa. Iosefa and Clay were the only two members of the Bucs' 2015 draft class not to end up on the 53-man roster or the injured reserve list.
The Buccaneers' cornerback depth is expected to improve shortly. The team announced during Thursday's preseason finale in Miami that it had agreed to terms with free agent Tim Jennings, a former Pro Bowler for the Chicago Bears under Lovie Smith. When Jennings officially signs a contract he will count against the 53-man roster and the team will have to make a corresponding subtraction.
Barth handled the Bucs' placekicking duties from the middle of the 2009 season through 2012 before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury just before training camp in 2013. He recently re-signed with the Buccaneers after being released by Denver. That originally put him in direct competition with the player who won the same two-man battle the previous summer, Patrick Murray. However, with Barth released and Murray waived/injured, the Buccaneers will go with a new kicker for the third straight season, this time giving the job to rookie Kyle Brindza. Brindza was acquired in a trade with Detroit last week and was able to secure the position with an outstanding Buc debut on Thursday night, hitting on field goals of 57 and 55 yards and putting all of his kickoffs well into the end zone.