In a move that was anything but unexpected, the Buccaneers Friday released veteran guard J.R. Sweezy after two injury-plagued seasons. The team announced the move on their website Friday afternoon:
We have released Guard J.R. Sweezy.https://t.co/nvTlsxdfNT
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) June 29, 2018
Sweezy signed a hefty five year $32.5 million contract, as a free agent prior to the 2016 season, only to suffer a back injury that kept him out of the lineup for the entire first year of his deal.
He did return to play in 2017 and started 14 games, as the Buccaneers offense sputtered and the team finished 5 and 11. Releasing Sweezy saves the Bucs $6.5 million in actual salary for 2018.
As we have written this offseason, the handwriting for Sweezy’s departure was on the wall when the Bucs signed free agent center Ryan Jensen of the Ravens and announced that last year’s center and former right guard Ali Marpet would be moving back to the guard position. It’s now believed that Marpet will play right guard, again, where he played successfully his first two seasons in the league..
The Buccaneers also drafted Division II player Alex Cappa out of Humboldt State in California, who can play guard or tackle and could easily plug in at right guard, if that’s what the Buccaneers choose. The Bucs also re-signed veteran guard/center Evan Smith, who has been in coach Dirk Koetter’s system, since 2015. This provides yet another option for the Bucs to go to at guard, if needed.
Tampa Bay is also trying to deal with who plays right tackle, while veteran Demar Dotson rests and rehabs an injured right knee from this offseason. Cappa could be ending up being a solution there, as well.
While GM Jason Licht has hit on some draft picks and free agents, Swezey is yet another miss on his record that includes players like LT Anthony Collins, DE Michael Johnson, and DT Chris Baker. All of those players only last a single season in Tampa Bay after signing high priced deals.
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