TAMPA – The addition of All-Pro safety T.J. Ward has left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with one of those pleasant dilemmas teams are often forced to deal with: How to fit a new player onto the roster.
At first glance, there are at least two solutions and both seem pretty simple.
The first is to simply trade out one safety for another. Cutting J.J. Wilcox, for example, would solve the problem quickly because the Bucs would in essence be trading out one thumper for another at the position.
But what if the Bucs want to keep Wilcox, who they signed to a two-year, $6.25 million contract in free agency, as well as rookie Justin Evans and projected starters Keith Tandy and Chris Conte?
They can do that and still fit Ward onto the roster easily because they are expected to move injured quarterback Ryan Griffin from the active roster to injured reserve today.
That would immediately open up a spot for Ward, but the problem the Bucs are facing in the wake of claiming no one new off waivers today is that Ward may not be the only player they feel they have to add.
The decision over the weekend to let go of long snappers Andrew DePaola and Garrison Sanborn has seemingly left a void on the roster but that may not necessarily be the case and here’s why:
As it stands right now, the Bucs actually do have a long snapper on their roster. They may even have two or three, but the one who actually has experience long-snapping in an NFL game is linebacker Adarius Glanton.
With a broken index finger on his snapping hand, no less, Glanton stepped in and handled those duties for an injured DePaola last year during the Bucs Week 17 victory over the Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.
Glanton snapped for the game-winning PAT in that contest and noted afterward that he has been long snapping since high school, though he hadn’t done so in a game since he was in college at Florida Atlantic in 2012.
Glanton credited an assistant coach at Lake Gibson High School with showing him the long-snapping technique, adding that he told him “One day you’re going to use this.’’
That day may have come again, but not just for Glanton. Tight end Alan Cross first made it onto his college team at Memphis as a walk-on long snapper and even center Ali Marpet has toyed with long snapping.
The answer to the Bucs long-snapper dilemma may already be on the Bucs roster. If not, then the Bucs may indeed have to make a roster cut to work both Ward and a long snapper into the mix.
If that proves to be the case, the Bucs have a couple of options outside of cutting another safety. They could also take from their linebacking corps, which currently has six players, or from their tight end corps, which currently has five.