The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who did not make the playoffs this year, have already made some big moves heading into the off-season. The Bucs, who we already knew would not be bringing Jeff Garcia back this season, cut 5 major players today.
Tampa Bay released 35-year-old OLB Derrick Brooks, one of the greatest Buccaneers ever, an 11-time Pro Bowler, and the current defensive leader in consecutive starts. The 2002 Defensive Player of the Year played all of his 14 seasons so far with Tampa Bay, and it is unsure whether he will retire following the release.
The Buccaneers also cut 37-year-old 4-time Pro Bowl WR Joey Galloway, 32-year-old WR Ike Hilliard (who is 1 reception shy of 500 career catches), 29-year-old Pro Bowl OLB Cato June, and 34-year-old veteran RB Warrick Dunn (Dunn is 33 yards away from 11,000 career rushing yards, and 1 touchdown away from 50 career rushing touchdowns).
Some of these cuts were expected, such as the aging Galloway’s release; however, the releasing of Cato June, who is in his prime and still had 2 years left on a 3-year contract, is a strange move. These releases make a lot of cap room for the Bucs, who will certainly need to have an eventful off-season if they would like to get back to the playoffs in a very strong NFC South division.