Fans and analysts knew that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had some massive roster cuts coming up, but the news this morning has substantial implications.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to move on from former special teams captain and running back Dare Ogunbowale and kicker Matt Gay this morning. Everyone knew big moves were coming, but these still come as a surprise.
Tampa Bay has been evident in its support of Ogunbowale all offseason. Even after the signing of LeSean McCoy, Ogunbowale had a lot to bring on special teams and has quietly put together a solid camp on the ground and through the air.
With the additions of Leonard Fournette and McCoy, Ogunbowale’s odds of making the final roster were already long, but the presence of Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the roster may have been too much to overcome.
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Special teams duties will now likely fall on Scotty Miller, Jaydon Mickens, and Justin Watson unless a defensive player steps up as well.
The second cut came as much more of a surprise. Kicker Matt Gay had a shaky start to his career, but the expectation was that he could turn his luck around in year two. The Bucs did invest a fifth-round pick in the young kicker, and it seemed unlikely that they would cut bait so soon.
Unfortunately for Gay, the Bucs don’t have the time to wait on their kicker to develop. Gay fell short in too many big moments last year to warrant a spot on a team with Super Bowl hopes, and the Bucs decided that veteran Ryan Succop is the safest option.
The drama surrounding kickers in Tampa Bay only intensifies from this news, and Jason Licht has hopefully learned his lesson from years passed. Licht has put together several solid groups of rookies in his most recent drafts, but drafting another kicker again is inexcusable.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are already a vastly different team, and more cuts are set to come. These first few are surprises, but more big names are undoubtedly set to follow. Cutting players is never a fun or an easy task, but the Bucs have made it clear that they need excellence or they will move on.