The Buccaneers choosing to cut Tyler Johnson will be a decision that very few people actually saw coming, and it is surprising with good reason.
Tyler Johnson getting cut was not on most Buccaneers fans’ preseason Bingo cards.
Johnson is still the fifth-best pure receiving option on the roster right now, and choosing to move on from such a player could play out poorly for the Bucs down the stretch.
While there was some sound reasoning behind this surprise decision, it seems as though some of the bigger issues have not been considered with the same weight as special teams contributions.
No, Johnson does not have a big role on special teams, but that alone should not have been why this decision was made.
Guys like Deven Thompkins and Jaelon Darden might be able to bring more to the team with their positions due to their abilities to serve in the return game, but that isn’t exactly what the Bucs need with their fifth receiver.
Tampa’s top receivers have all dealt with injuries recently. Some of the guys have a long history of dealing with injuries on a near-yearly basis. Johnson might not be able to help as much as Darden or Thompkins on special teams, but he is better-suited to step in for one of the starters if they go down.
If more than one of the top four go down at one time, which the Bucs saw happen during the preseason, they will be left with a very light room for Tom Brady to throw passes to.
As much as it makes sense to go after guys that can play multiple roles, the Bucs did have the space to take seven receivers and let their back two shoulder more of the load on special teams while letting Johnson serve as a pure pass-catcher.
We will see how this plays out for the Buccaneers in the end, but it looks like this was a mistake in the short term as the team cuts its best receiver from the preseason.
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