Let it be shown that across the NFL, April 26th, 2010 was take-a-scalpel-to-the-roster day. Across the league several recognizable names were released. Adalius Thomas was given the heave-ho, John Henderson got the boot, the Jets said sayonara to Alan Faneca and the Bucs made a bevy of moves, which we'll get to in just a minute.
This is the business side of the NFL. It's never what have you done for me last year, or ten years ago, it's what have you done for me today. Some of these players have tread left on the tires, but more often than not, their cost outweighs their performance and economics kicks in. It's tough for us to watch and deal with as fans as we went from cheering for an organization to cheering for the individual players as well, but these moves are ones we should start to grow accustomed to.
On to the moves that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made. They parted ways with Chris Hovan, Shawn Murphy, B.J. Askew, Arron Sears, and Sam Paulescu. Some of the names are no-brainers, others you wish you knew what went on behind closed doors. But these players getting cut fits with the M.O. of the front office, get younger, get talented, re-build. While some of these players are good and can hold their own, they no longer had room on our roster.
Chris Hovan was the type of guy you had respect for, whether you liked him or not. He had a motor that didn't seem to turn off. He may not have been the most talented guy on the field, but with a jersey that was eight sizes too small, face paint that would make KISS cheer, and a non-stop attack on the offensive line you could always count on him to give it his all. Truth be told, with the drafting of Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, there just wasn't any room for him and Ryan Sims on the team. With Hovan pulling in more dough this year, he became the obvious casualty.
Arron Sears seemed like an unlikely candidate to be cut. The Bucs drafted no offensive line help or depth in the draft which seemed to indicate that Sears was likely to be part of our 2010 team. Less than 48 hours later, Sears gets the boot for reportedly having an unspecified setback. This could be weight issues, health issues, or part of the ongoing issues he has faced. We hope it's nothing serious, but Dominik made it clear that we couldn't wait around for him
B.J. Askew was a player that I was excited to have on the team. He was an above average run blocker and when given the chance to carry the rock or catch a pass out of the backfield, he always made something happen. I always remarked that Gruden/Morris should find him 3-5 touches a game, preferably on a swing pass. With his injury history and Earnest Graham's move to fullback, Askew became another veteran that was no longer needed. This either paves the way for a free agent running back to come aboard, or for Clifton Smith or Kareem Huggins to become that 3rd down back with some shiftiness we've been waiting for since Dunn left.
There is no doubt the team is a bit younger now. Over the last few years we've seen quite a turnover from old guard to new guard. In fact, when Ronde Barber leaves, whenever that might be, this team will have a completely new identity. We're currently in that shift between generations right now, and int he next year or so, the full transformation from the Super Bowl Bucs led by Gruden will be made to the young guns led by Morris and Freeman. How long this era lasts is up for debate, but its no secret that the Bucs have undergone a remodel. Enjoy the players we get to watch in 2010, it won't be long before they become the veteran casualties of the NFL.