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Buccaneers release LT Donovan Smith to get under salary cap

Smith has played his entire NFL career so far with Tampa Bay.

TAMPA, Florida — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released left tackle Donovan Smith in a move that will save the team money to get under the salary cap, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Tampa Bay will save at least $9.95 million on its overflowing cap by releasing Smith ahead of the upcoming season, but it also creates $7.95 million in dead money, the NFL reports. If the Bucs had decided to keep the veteran left tackle, he would have had a $17.9 million cap hit for 2023. 

“I want to thank Donovan for all that he has done for the Buccaneers on and off the field over the past eight seasons,” Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “He stepped in as our starter at left tackle in 2015 and his durability and dependability at one of the most important positions in football played a significant role in our offensive success during his time here.”

The team is also expected to release running back Leonard Fournette, who reportedly requested to be released from the organization, and longtime tight end Cameron Brate.

Tampa Bay has until 4 p.m. on March 15 to become cap compliant by being under their projected $55 million over the salary cap.

The Bucs selected Smith in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft and has played every single season with the team since then. The 29-year-old was a consistent blocker for Tom Brady and Jameis Winston for the last eight seasons.

However, his form dipped last year after he recorded a career-high of 12 penalties. The Super Bowl winner is still expected to attract interest from teams that need a veteran left tackle.

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