Buccaneers Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/13/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted from practice squad: T Chandler Brewer, DB Donte Deayon

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/13/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: C Nate Trewyn

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

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Texans Claim Vernon Hargreaves

The Texans claimed former Bucs’ cornerback Vernon Hargreaves on waivers, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Hargreaves was released on Tuesday, which made him subject to the waiver wire, per the league’s rules for players who are cut after the trade deadline. 

The former first round pick did not meet expectations in Tampa, but he profiles as a low-risk, high-reward type for Houston. Hargreaves was the No. 11 overall pick in 2016 for a reason and there could be some good football still left in the tank for the Florida product.

Before the release, Hargreaves was set to play out his rookie deal and 2020 fifth-year option. But, because that $9.9MM option was guaranteed for injury only, the Bucs were easily able to move on. New head coach Bruce Arians sat Hargreaves on the first day of OTAs because he was “not mentally ready to practice.” Apparently, the two were not able to get on the same page between the summer and the fall.

The Bucs sure could have used a healthy and productive Hargreaves on the roster, given that they have the worst pass defense in the NFL. With that in mind, the decision is rather telling of the team’s view of him.

The Texans, meanwhile, also have ample need at the position, but with more confidence in Hargreaves than Arians & Co. did. Even after acquiring cornerback Gareon Conley from the Raiders, there’s still plenty of work to be had for the 24-year-old in Houston.

Hargreaves will be eligible to make his Texans debut on Sunday against the Ravens.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Cut Vernon Hargreaves

The Buccaneers have cut cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Tampa Bay selected Hargreaves in the first round (No. 11 overall) of the 2016 draft and exercised the fifth-year option of his rookie deal back in May, which would have kept the Florida product under club control through 2020.

However, the fifth-year option would have come with a $9.9MM salary and was guaranteed for injury only, so Hargreaves will not have any impact on the Bucs’ cap in 2020. This move comes on the heels of Hargreaves being benched in the second half of Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals for not hustling, and may have been done to send a message to the rest of the locker room. As Jenna Laine of ESPN.com writes, Hargreaves planned to speak with head coach Bruce Arians to discuss the benching and expressed confidence that he and Arians could resolve any issues they might have, but the fact that his lack of hustle was not an isolated incident could have contributed to his ouster. Laine reminds us that Arians sat Hargreaves on the first day of OTAs because he was “not mentally ready to practice.”

The Bucs’ decision is particularly telling given that they have the worst pass defense in the NFL and now have just three healthy corners on the roster. As Greg Auman of The Athletic notes, Tampa will turn to rookies Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting as its starters (Twitter link). Auman tweets that, given the youth and injuries along the CB depth chart, the club is likely to add a corner from outside the organization to replace Hargreaves.

Hargreaves rarely lived up to his first-round billing during his tenure with the Bucs, struggling both outside the numbers and in the slot. However, given his youth and upside, he will surely garner interest from other clubs in need of secondary help. Now that we are past the trade deadline, Hargreaves is subject to waivers, and while he is due just $980K for the remainder of the 2019 season, a team that claims Hargreaves off waivers would also be putting itself on the hook for the 2020 option year. As such, teams may wait for Hargreaves to clear waivers and then attempt to sign him as a free agent.

GM Jason Licht issued the following statement on the transaction (Twitter links to Auman):

“After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, Coach Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change. Decisions such as this are always difficult, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to part ways with Vernon at this time and allow him to explore other opportunities. We are disappointed that it did not work out here for Vernon, and we wish him continued success moving forward.”

Hargreaves, a collegiate standout with the Gators, ends his Bucs tenure with two interceptions — including one pick-six — 19 passes defensed, and 164 total tackles in 35 games (33 starts). Injuries limited him to just 10 games between the 2017-18 seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/11/19

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed on IR: T Martinas Rankin
  • Signed off Colts’ practice squad: T Jackson Barton

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Claimed off waivers from Titans: OL Aaron Stinnie
  • Waived: C Nate Trewyn

Bucs’ Bruce Arians On Jameis Winston

Given his recent performance, there’s a “really good chance” that quarterback Jameis Winston could land a new contract if he keeps things up, head coach Bruce Arians tells Peter King of NBC Sports

He’s taken us down the field to win or tie the game the last two weeks in the last two minutes,” Arians said. “That’s the maturity of a young quarterback you’re looking for. If he plays like he has the last two weeks for the rest of the season, I’d say there’s a really good chance.”

Winston is currently playing out the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Heading into the season, there were tons of questions about Winston’s future in Tampa, but he could be playing his way into a lucrative new deal that would keep him with the club in 2020 and beyond.

Of course, this hasn’t been a banner year for the Bucs, nor has it been a tremendous season for Winston on the whole. The Bucs are 3-6 and Winston has thrown for 17 touchdowns against 14 interceptions – plus ten fumbles. Still, he’s showing serious signs of life. On

The Buccaneers continue to underachieve, with a record of 3-6 through nine games. And questions continue to swirl regarding whether quarterback Jameis Winston will continue to be the team’s quarterback after 2019. Still, the Bucs eeked out a win over the Cardinals on Sunday and they managed to take the Seahawks into overtime in the previous week, thanks in part to the former No. 1 overall pick.

Arians, in Year One as the Bucs head coach, is encouraged by what he’s seen so far. There’s also this to consider: It’s nearly impossible to find high-end quarterback in the free agent market and the Bucs currently project to pick outside of the Top 5 in the 2020 draft. A blend of big plays from Winston and a lack of quality alternatives could lead to a new deal between now and March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Fuller, Quinn, Leftwich

The Texans are hopeful that wide receiver Will Fuller will be able to retake the field next week in Baltimore against the Ravens, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Fuller has missed the team’s previous two games after suffering a hamstring injury against the Colts.

Fuller is one of the best deep threats in football, especially when he takes the field opposite of all-pro DeAndre Hopkins. Prior to his injury, Fuller was on pace to eclipse 70 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Those marks may be unattainable now, but at 6-3, the Texans are in the thick of the AFC playoff picture coming out of their bye. Fuller would surely aid them in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

Here’s more from the NFC and AFC South:

  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has been firmly on the hot-seat for many weeks. However, after a dominating victory over the Saints on Sunday, Quinn has bought himself at least a temporary reprieve, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Just a few seasons away from a Super Bowl appearance, this year has fallen far short of expectations, especially on defense. However, New Orleans potent offense looked overwhelmed for much of the game.
  • After a 30-27 victory in a shootout against the Cardinals, the Buccaneers offense continues to produce in spit of Jameis Winston‘s propensity for turnovers. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich deserves a large amount of credit as the playcaller, however, he almost never got the responsibilities in the first place. In the offseason, head coach Bruce Arians had to convince ownership that someone other than him should call plays, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times.

Arians Could Retire Again?

Despite the Bengals being 0-8 and the only winless team in the league, La Canfora doesn’t think Cincy owner Mike Brown would pull the plug on Zac Taylor given his penchant for loyalty. Brown gave Marvin Lewis nearly two decades, so that isn’t too surprising. Interestingly, La Canfora seems to float the possibility of a second Bruce Arians retirement after just one year in Tampa Bay. If the Buccaneers don’t show improvement and are forced to tear it all down, JLC wonders whether Arians would “want to endure a rebuild in 2020.” He adds that “this situation is being watched closely around the league.” La Canfora also seems to think there’s a real possibility the Jets and Browns move on from Adam Gase and Freddie Kitchens respectively, which isn’t all that shocking.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/19

Today’s minor moves:

Miami Dolphins

  • Claimed off waivers (Seahawks): WR Gary Jennings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted from practice squad: DE Kahzin Daniels

Buccaneers Sign LB Sam Acho

The Buccaneers are adding some defensive depth. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team signed veteran linebacker Sam Acho to a one-year deal. To make room on the roster, the Bucs placed tight end Antony Auclair on the injured reserve.

The former fourth-round pick missed the majority of last season as he recovered from a pectoral injury. Acho joined the Bills this offseason, but he was released by the team at the end of the preseason. He had a workout with the Broncos in early October, but it’s otherwise been quiet for the 31-year-old.

After recording seven sacks in his rookie campaign in Arizona in 2011, Acho hasn’t been able to replicate that success. In 2017, he started 12 games and played on 60% of the Bears’ defensive snaps, posting 27 tackles, three sacks, and one pass defensed. Last year, he had just two tackles across four games.

The Buccaneers’ pass-rush has been relatively underwhelming this season; the team’s 19 sacks ranks 24th in the NFL. Both Carl Nassib and Anthony Nelson suffered injuries this past weekend, so Acho will at least provide the team with a healthy body. The veteran also has experience with the coaching staff, having played under head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.