Two years after signing J.R. Sweezy to a five-year, $32.5MM contract, the Buccaneers are planning to cut ties with the veteran guard.
The Bucs are moving on from Sweezy after two injury-plagued years, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This will only cost the team $1.25MM in dead money, thanks in part to a 2017 restructure. Sweezy was due to make $6.5MM this season.
Sweezy missed all of the first season of his Bucs deal due to injury, and the former Seahawks starter is in the process of working his way back from a broken bone in his leg. However, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) Sweezy’s been cleared to resume football activities. He did not participate in the Buccaneers’ offseason program.
Sweezy also missed all of the 2016 season because of a back ailment, prompting the Bucs to finalize a redone contract for the one-time big free agent prize last year.
The 29-year-old guard started all 14 games he played for Tampa Bay last season. He was a steady Seattle starter from 2013-15, being a first-unit presence in both of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl appearances this decade. He’ll now venture back into free agency.
After Sweezy’s release, the Bucs are likely to hold a right guard competition between third-year blocker Caleb Benenoch and rookie third-rounder Alex Cappa, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times notes (Twitter links). Cappa taking Sweezy’s place would give the Bucs an interesting look up front. This scenario would have three small-school cogs starting for the Bucs, with Cappa being a Division II product (Humboldt State) who would join Ali Marpet (D-III Hobart) and now Ryan Jensen (D-II Colorado State-Pueblo) on Tampa Bay’s front. Benenoch started five games last season.
Marpet being moved back to guard, with Jensen coming in as the new center, makes Sweezy’s loss easier for the Buccaneers to handle. Pro Football Focus rated Sweezy as its No. 53 guard last season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.