Tampa — The worst performance of Donovan Smith’s career, along with salary cap issues, led to the team’s decision on Tuesday to release left tackle after eight seasons.
Smith, 29, signed a two-year, $31.8 million extension in March 2021. But Boss will save $9.95 million on the maximum by parting ways with him.
“I want to thank Donovan for everything he’s done for the Buccaneers on and off the field over the past eight seasons,” Bucks general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “He came in as our starting left tackle in 2015, and his durability and reliability in one of the most important positions in football has played a significant role in our offensive success during his time here.”
A second round Penn State selection in 2015, Smith started 124 regular season games during his time with the Bucs. He’s only missed six seasons, including just two over his first seven seasons.
But he suffered an overextended elbow in the season-opening win on September 11th in Dallas. This may have contributed to a forgettable year in which he was second in the NFL for most penalties accepted with 12 penalties taken for 100 yards. Two of his stuck calls robbed the touchdown. He also allowed a team-high six sacks.
Smith is the third known veteran the Bucs plan to let go of this season, joining running back Leonard Fournette and tight end Cameron Pratt. Ryan Succop plus kicker is also expected to be a casualty.
One option the Bucs are considering to replace Smith is a move over All-Pro Tristan Wirfs from right tackle in 2023.
In addition, the Bucs did not use their franchise player tag for the first time in four years by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline. Prior to Smith’s release, the Bucs were priced at $58.26 million over the $224.8 cap. According to Overthecap.com. They must be up to that number by 4 p.m. on March 15, the start of the new league year. This does not include the expected release of Fournette and Brate, who have been informed by the team that they intend to break up.
The player most likely to receive the franchise tag is cornerback Jamal Dean. he He was the fifth player to be entered into free agency by Pro Football Focusa roster that includes Seahawks quarterback Gino Smith, who agreed to a three-year, $105 million contract with Seattle on Monday.
The franchise tag for Dean, 26, would have added another $18.16 million to the Bucs’ ballooning salary cap. They’re hoping to eventually reach a new deal with Dean, as well as others, like inside linebacker David LaFonte and safety Mike Edwards.
The Bucs had used the franchise tag in the previous three years. Outside linebacker Shaquille Barrett received the mark in 2020 after recording a club record 19-1/2 sacks the previous season. He played on a one-year contract before signing a multi-year deal in 2021.
Bucks have made receiver Chris Goodwin their franchise player for the past two seasons. He signed a three-year, $60 million contract just nine days after being ranked last year.
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Dean is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro. He started 15 games and had two interceptions and eight passes defended. He has allowed a completion percentage of just 51.95 over the past two seasons.
spectrack Its market value in three years is expected to be $49.67 million Or roughly $16.5 million annually, less than the franchise’s tag of more than $18 million.
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