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Tampa Bay Buccaneers projected to cut former first-round wide receiver

The Buccaneers have a lot of competition in the wide receiver room following the addition of Russell Gage in free agency.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a roster that is bolstered for another run at a Super Bowl. Ever since star quarterback Tom Brady unretired, the Buccaneers made it a point of emphasis to add talent through free agency, trades, and the draft to improve the team on both sides of the ball. It's arguable that this is the deepest unit from top to bottom that the franchise has fielded in quite some time.

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That means there will be some tough decisions for the Buccaneers to make as they cut down to the 53-man roster limit prior to the season. After adding former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage to the room a few months ago, there is stiff competition amongst Tampa Bay's wideouts. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Gage are all but guaranteed a roster spot but there are a lot of other names in the mix to fill out the final few openings. That could lead to some surprises.

Tampa Bay brought in former first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman late in 2021 after Godwin went down with an ACL injury and re-signed him to a one-year deal in March. However, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Perriman will find himself in a battle to keep his job. Auman projects Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Tyler Johnson, Cyril Grayson, and Jaelon Darden as the six wide receivers that the Buccaneers will carry to begin the season. 

"We’ll be optimistic about Godwin and put him on the opening 53 (though not necessarily ready to play in Week 1) So our six are Evans, Godwin, Gage, Johnson, Grayson and Darden," Auman wrote according to The Athletic. "That means Perriman and Miller are choosing between the practice squad here or another 53, with Thompkins, Smith and Jerreth Sterns among the best developmental types for the practice squad."

As it stands, there's just not a ton of upside to retaining Perriman unless he puts together an impressive preseason. There are younger players in the room such as Darden and undrafted rookie Deven Thompkins who offer more intrigue and potential. Perriman was a sparse contributor last year outside of catching Tom Brady's 700th touchdown pass to take down the Buffalo Bills in overtime.

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"Could the Bucs get a late-round pick for Miller? He didn’t have much of a role last season, even after he returned from injury, so he’s the biggest X-factor here, capable of grabbing the No. 4 spot if he looks like he did in 2020, or not making the cut," Auman wrote. "Perriman had a huge catch to win in overtime against the Bills, but couldn’t get on the field with other teams for much of 2021 and could be on the outside looking in."

Perriman caught 11 passes for 167 yards and a score during his second stint with Tampa Bay. He also played for the franchise in 2019 when he caught a career-high 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns. Unfortunately, the speedster was unable to kindle that kind of performance for the Buccaneers in 2021.

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The Florida native has struggled to prove himself in the NFL since being selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 26 overall pick in 2015. Perriman has played for seven teams in seven years while being cut or waived four different times. Barring a drastic turnaround over the next few weeks, those numbers will continue to rise for the 28-year-old.

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

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