It's been a busy 24 hours for the braintrust of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the conclusion of the pre-season, final roster cuts were due on Friday, August 31. In order to trim the squad to 53 players, walking papers temporarily placed many football dreams on ice. Yet, even landing on the club's roster on Friday did not guarantee a job for Opening Day. The Bucs remained active and signed 4 players on Saturday, who were previously released by other teams. Here's a look at the flurry of roster moves by Tampa Bay.
Free Agent Signing:
Danny Ware, RB -- The University of Georgia product spent the past 5 seasons with the New York Giants, where played for 2 Super Bowl champions. Nevertheless, Ware was released on Friday and the Bucs quickly reunited him with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who previously coached for New York. The veteran becomes Tampa Bay's 4th running back and will compete for carries with rookie Michael Smith.
Players Claimed Off Waivers:
Corvey Irvin, DT -- Surprisingly releasing a pair of defensive tackles, the Bucs claimed Irvin off waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 27 year-old was a 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft by the Carolina Panthers, but has battled injuries throughout his NFL career. Irvin only competed in 4 games in 2011, but was healthy for this year's pre-season, where he recorded 8 total tackles.
Julian Vandervelde, G -- With the loss of Davin Joseph for the season, the Bucs encountered an obvious need at guard. In response, the club grabbed this 2nd year player off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles. He competed in just 1 game last year, but played in all 4 exhibition games this summer and was a 3 year starter for the University of Iowa.
Cody Wallace, G -- Also capable of lining up at center, the Bucs signed this 2008 4th round pick off waivers from the Houston Texans. Only dressing for 1 game in his 4 year career, the 27 year-old Wallace has spent time on the practice squads of 4 teams. The Texas native played college ball at Texas A&M, where he was All-Big 12 as a senior.
Veterans Released (Not subject to waivers):
Frank Okam, DT -- Despite creating a lack of depth at defensive tackle, Coach Greg Schiano did not hesitate to make changes at the troublesome position. Trading Brian Price on the first day of camp, the 26 year-old Okam was released upon its conclusion. The 350 pounder first signed with the Bucs in the middle of the 2010 season and competed in 12 games since then. Okam played in all 4 of this year's pre-season contests, but did not impress.
Amobi Okoye, DT -- The former 1st round pick inked a 1 year $2 million contract with the Bucs during the off-season and was even expected to start following the Price trade. Yet, following an unfortunate knee surgery in June, the Bucs were not convinced Okoye was healthy. Tampa Bay negotiated an injury settlement upon his release and the 25 year-old is reportedly headed back to the Chicago Bears.
Wallace Gilberry, DE -- An off-season addition to the defensive line, the 27 year-old former Kansas City Chief was expected to provide depth at a position suffering from the loss of DaQuan Bowers, who tore his Achilles in May. Gilberry competed in all 4 exhibition games and actually survived roster cuts on Friday. However, the University of Alabama product was released following Saturday's waiver moves.
Brandon McDonald, CB -- The Bucs imported this 6 year veteran on August 20th and he competed in the team's final 2 exhibition games. Like Gilberry and Bradley Sowell, McDonald made the initial roster cuts, but was released to create room for Ware. The 27 year-old could not supplant rookie Keith Tandy.
Players Waived (Can be claimed off waivers by other teams):
Brett Ratliff, QB: The Bucs are keeping 2 quarterbacks on the 53 man roster, which left no room for Ratliff. He played in 3 pre-season games, including every snap of the Redskins' meeting, where he tossed 3 interceptions and looked inept. Tampa Bay should scour waivers for a better option for its practice squad.
Tiquan Underwood, WR: This decision will be unpopular with barbers and proves Schiano's loyalty to Rutgers players only goes so far. Underwood arguably did enough to earn a place on the team by catching 9 exhibition passes for 158 yards. Yet, Schiano elected to keep only 5 receivers, including reserves Preston Parker, Arrelious Benn (who missed the entire pre-season with a knee injury), and Sammie Stroughter.
Jordan Shipley, WR: The former Texas Longhorns star was signed late in the pre-season upon his release by the Cincinnati Bengals. Coming off a ruptured knee in 2011, Shipley caught just 1 pass for the Bucs and could not crack the small group of 5 wideouts. If healthy, Shipley would have been a popular player, who could have aided the return game.
Drake Dunsmore, TE: The Bucs' 7th round selection from Northwestern proved the only 2012 draft pick who failed to make the roster. Tampa Bay instead retained undrafted free agent tight end Danny Noble.
Kai Forbath, K: With Connor Barth receiving a new contract, there was little chance the UCLA rookie would make the squad. The rookie, however, will likely find a job, since he nailed all 5 exhibition FG attempts, including a 55 yarder.
Others: Larry Asante, S; Sean Baker, S; Landon Cox, WR; Rennie Curran, LB; Jacob Cutrera, LB; Jermarcus Hardrick, T; Robert Hughes, RB; Cody Johnson, FB; Mossis Madu, RB; Jordan Nix, DT; Moe Petrus, C; Zach Pianalto, TE; James Rogers, CB; Bradley Sowell, T; Teryl White, DT; E.J. Wilson, DL; Desmond Wynn, G.
Yahoo! Sports, Buccaneers.com, NFL.com.
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Jeff Briscoe is a writer who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. A loyal Tampa Bay Bucs fan, he co-hosts the Florida-based radio show, The Sports Train.
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