TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced their 53-man roster for the upcoming NFL season after the team was required to trim down its roster by 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.
In total, Tampa Bay made 27 moves, and some of the most notable was the team waiving third-year wide receiver Tyler Johnson and releasing veteran safety Logan Ryan.
Johnson faced competition with Jaelon Darden, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perriman, but ultimately missed out. Darden, Miller and Perriman are part of the roster and join an elite group that includes Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Russell Gage.
"Tyler Johnson does a lot of things well, just does not do something exceptionally well," 10 Tampa Bay Sports Director Evan Closky said. "The Buccaneers need someone who can play special teams and Tyler Johnson cannot do that. Scotty Miller can. Also, when push comes to shove, it seems like Perriman is the more trusted option. Johnson had ample opportunity to step up when the entire group was battered with injuries last season and he never really performed up to potential. The drops continued to be a concern and even though he had a strong preseason, he just could not do enough to prove Jason Licht and company should keep him around."
His cut from the final roster shows how much depth the Bucs have in his position.
The 24-year-old recorded 48 receptions for 529 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons with Tampa Bay. Usually operated as a rotational player, Johnson still managed to be an impact player during the 2020 NFL Playoffs as he made crucial catches and plays to help his team reach and win Super Bowl LV.
Johnson is expected to join another team instead of clearing waivers for a spot on the Bucs' practice squad.
After playing four seasons with the New England Patriots, Ryan signed with Tampa Bay in March.
Although he was released by Bucs, the 31-year-old is expected to return back to the roster after the team places center Ryan Jensen on the Injured Reserve list. Tampa Bay was required to keep Jensen on the roster in order to make him eligible for a late season return, if possible. Head Coach Todd Bowles has said Jensen will most likely be out until November.
The cutting of Ryan served as a roster maneuver and since he's a veteran player, the safety is not subject to waivers and the Bucs can bring him back easily.
"If you're a Big Brother fan, it's like being put on the block as a pawn," Closky said. "It's a cagey move from the front office. No worries about Ryan. He will be there against Dallas on Sept. 11."
Tampa Bay conducted one trade on Tuesday as inside linebacker Grant Stuard, also known as Mr. Irrelevant, was sent to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts also received a 2023 seventh-round pick while the Bucs will get a 2023 sixth-round pick in return.
Stuard was the final pick of the 2021 draft and appeared in every game for Tampa Bay as a rookie with most of his time on special teams. He logged 18 tackles and a forced fumble in his only year with the team.
"Stuard is a special teams ace, but he is well behind undrafted free agent Olakunle Fatukasi at the linebacker position," Closky said. "Fatukasi has been a tremendous surprise in camp and can step into that special teams role."
Other notable players who didn't make the roster include young wide receivers Deven Thompkins and Jerreth Sterns, who are all expected to make Tampa Bay's practice squad, kicker Jose Borregales after he lost the starting position to Ryan Succop, outside linebacker Elijah Ponder, quarterback Ryan Griffin, who will also land on the practice squad, and cornerback Rashard Robinson, who was placed on the Injured Reserve and will not be eligible to play for the Bucs in 2022.
"Credit to the Tampa Bay scouting department. Seven of eight 2022 draft picks made the final roster and Andre Anthony probably lands on the practice squad. Fatukasi was also an undrafted free agent. Tip of the cap," Closky said.
Below is a list of all the players that did not make the 53-man roster.
OLB Andre Anthony
K Jose Borregales
T Dylan Cook
S Chris Cooper
CB Don Gardner
WR Kaylon Geiger
DL Mike Greene
TE JJ Howland
G Sadarius Hutcherson
WR Tyler Johnson
RB Patrick Laird
CB Kyler McMichael
C John Molchon
DL Benning Potoa'e
DL Willington Previlon
ILB J.J. Russell
WR Jerreth Sterns
WR Deven Thompkins
S Nolan Turner
OLB Jordan Young
OLB Elijah Ponder
OLB Genard Avery
QB Ryan Griffin
S Logan Ryan
DL Deadrin Senat
Placed on Injured Reserve
CB Rashard Robinson
ILB Grant Stuard
All of the players waived by the Bucs are subject to the waiver claim system over the next 24 hours and those who clear are contenders to return to the practice squad. Due to COVID-19, each team in the NFL is allowed to have 16 available spots on the practice squad. Each player on the practice squad has the opportunity to be elevated to a game-day roster throughout any point in the season.
New signings Jones, Gage, tight end Kyle Rudolph, offensive linemen Shaq Mason, defensive Linemen Akiem Hicks, outside linebacker Carl Nassib and safety Keanu Neal were part of the 53-man roster, as expected.
To view the full 53-man roster, click here.