Buccaneers release veteran LT Donovan Smith after 8 seasons
By FRED GOODALL
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Veteran left tackle Donovan Smith was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday in a cost-cutting move.
The durable 2015 second-round draft pick started 124 regular-season and seven playoff games over eight seasons with the Bucs, who entered the offseason more than $58 million dollars over the NFL salary cap.
Releasing Smith, who signed a two-year, $31.8 million contract extension in March 2021, creates about $9.95 million in cap space. Smith, 29, became an immediate starter for the Bucs in 2015 and missed only two games in eight years. He struggled in 2022 after suffering a hyperextended elbow in the season opener, though, finishing second in the league with 12 accepted penalties for 100 yards.
“I want to thank Donovan for all that he has done for the Buccaneers on and off the field over the past eight seasons,” general manager Jason Licht said. “He stepped in as our starter at left tackle in 2015, and his durability and dependability at one of the most important positions in football played a significant role in our offensive success during his time here.”
Among the options the Bucs could explore to fill Smith’s spot is moving All-Pro Tristan Wirfs from right to left tackle.
NFL teams face a March 15 deadline to become compliant with the salary cap. Among the other veterans Tampa Bay could part ways with are running back Leonard Fournette, tight end Cameron Brate and kicker Ryan Succop.
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Updated March 7, 2023