5 Notable Cuts Bucs Could Make Before Week 1

These five Bucs could be looking for a new team before the regular season kicks off.

Now is the time of year when NFL rosters are at their biggest, but that will only last until the final weeks of the preseason. The Buccaneers have plenty of cuts to make, not only to their training camp prospects but to their former draft picks.

Some of these players never worked out for Tampa Bay, either because of injury or poor fit. Others will be pushed off the roster by more talented players, and a few may be simple cap casualties.

Here are five potential cuts the Bucs could still make before Week 1 of the 2020 season:

QB Ryan Griffin

Bruce Arians typically keeps three quarterbacks on his regular season rosters, but for the first time since 2015, Ryan Griffin may not be one of them.

Griffin was former Bucs QB Jameis Winston's backup for the last five years, but he attempted just four passes in that span. At 30-years-old, Griffin's upside is practically nonexistent.

Already, Griffin will be third fiddle to primary backup Blaine Gabbert. His main threat will be rookie Reid Sinnett. The undrafted free agent is the epitome of upside. He started just one year at the University of San Diego but was nothing short of spectacular, throwing for 3528 yards and 32 touchdowns in 12 games.

Griffin may have more time in the NFL, but he doesn't have much more on-field experience than Sinnett. If Arians decides he wants a true developmental quarterback on the roster, Griffin may be gone.

DB M.J. Stewart

The Bucs acquired a plethora of talented and productive young defensive backs in the past three years. One player stands out among them as the most disappointing: M.J. Stewart.

The former second-round pick simply has not been able to keep up with likes of Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean or Sean Murphy-Bunting. He played just 23 percent of the defensive snaps in 2019, down from the 30 percent he played his rookie year.

Stewart entered the NFL an underdog. At 5'11" and 200 pounds, he is undersized in the NFL, and he recorded a mediocre 4.54 40-time at the 2018 NFL Combine. He had to rely on instincts and technique to make in the NFL, but neither have manifested since he joined the Bucs.

The addition of second-round pick Antoine Winfield likely means the end of the road for Stewart in Tampa Bay. As a hybrid safety/corner, Stewart lacks the standout traits of his teammates to be indispensable to the Bucs' roster.

S Justin Evans

Stewart isn't the only safety who might find himself cut before the start of the season. Evans is a promising player whose career has been derailed by injuries, robbing him of the 2019 season and more.

As a rookie, Evans flashed promise as a cornerstone safety, collecting three interceptions and six pass breakups. In 2019, his production took a hit, in no small part due to an Achilles injury that lingered for more than a year.

Given the severity of his ankle problems, Evans may not be the same player he was his rookie year. The Bucs will find out pretty quickly whether or not Evans is NFL-ready during training camp. If he isn't, the Bucs may decide to move on.

K Matt Gay

The Bucs just cannot escape their kicker problems. It would not be a stretch to say that Tampa Bay might have had a winning season last year if rookie K Matt Gay had hit just a few more kicks than he did.

Gay hit just 77.1 percent of his field goals and 89.6 of his extra points, 24th and 23rd respectively among all kickers last year. Though solid in most games, his abysmal performances against the Giants (1 for 3 on extra points) and in the season finale against Atlanta (0 for 3 on field goals) sealed losses for Tampa Bay.

The Bucs brought in some competition for Gay this offseason, rookie K Elliot Fry from South Carolina. Fry faces an uphill battle to unseat Gay, but it's not an impossible fight. General manager Jason Licht proved that he has zero problem parting with a kicker, drafted or not, after cutting second-round pick Roberto Aguayo after just one season.

LB Jack Cichy

Another player undone by injuries, former sixth-round pick Jack Cichy just can't seem to stay healthy. He finished his first two NFL seasons on injured reserve, his most recent following a gruesome elbow injury on special teams coverage.

Cichy has been almost exclusively a special teams player in Tampa Bay, recording no snaps on defense. He is not likely to unseat veteran LB Kevin Minter as the primary backup to Lavonte David and Devin White. 

Now he will have to compete with seventh-round pick Chapelle Russell for the last inside linebacker spot. Cichy will need to win his spot on special teams as he has had to do the last two seasons.