Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith suspended 4 games

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17: Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to run past Ryan Smith #29 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17: Allen Robinson #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to run past Ryan Smith #29 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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Entering into a crucial year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, cornerback Ryan Smith has been suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season.

It is a great thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invested heavily in the secondary this offseason as 2016 fourth round defensive back Ryan Smith has been suspended the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the league’s policy on the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Smith is entering the last year of his rookie contract, and this suspension could spell the end of his tenure in Tampa Bay.

This is not an ideal start for a player who would be entering training camp on the roster bubble as we sit now. While he is allowed to participate in training camp and the preseason, the Buccaneers may not be able to warrant a roster spot to a reserve player like Smith.

General Manager Jason Licht has already made a statement about the suspension of Smith:

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"“We are disappointed that Ryan will be unavailable for the first four games of the season… we do extensive training and education for out players regarding the league’s policies, but ultimately each individual is responsible for what they put in their bodies” (Licht via Greg Auman)."

In three seasons in Tampa Bay, Smith has started 16 total games, appearing in a total of 45. He has recorded one career interception and 11 passes defended; he was coming off of his best season where he recorded his sole interception and six passes defended. Smith has also tallied 81 solo tackles and three forced fumbles throughout his time in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers have been linked to free agent cornerback Morris Claiborne this offseason on more than one occasion. Now with the suspension of Smith, Licht and company may reach out to the veteran cornerback once again and attempt to reach an agreement with him.

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Rookies Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Mike Edwards may be thrown into the fire a bit earlier now due to the suspension of Smith. It also may be wise for Smith to start packing his bags now as this suspension could be the final nail in the coffin.