The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made two massive moves on an eventful first day of training camp. According to Adam Schefter, and confirmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team has cut wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe. More importantly, again according to Schefter, the Bucs have traded Brian Price to the Chicago Bears for a late-round pick. This means the Bucs have said goodbye to two promising, young players, despite the fact that both looked like important parts of the team's future last season.
Brian Price has suffered through tragedy this offseason after losing his sister in a car accident. This was the latest blow in a series of setbacks for the young defensive tackle, who was never really healthy during his two seasons in the NFL so far. His injury problems stem from a congenital defect that forced surgeons to attach his hamstrings to his pelvis with screws. Price struggled to rehab from those injuries, and was ineffective for most of last season, although he showed a few flashes of quality play with 3 sacks. There was a small spat with Mark Barron this offseason, although that didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary for any NFL team. Price did spend much of the offseason working out in California with permission of the team to continue to rehab from his injury, and be closer to his family.
Dezmon Briscoe, meanwhile, looked like a solid possession receiver who mostly did what other receivers couldn't in 2011: catch passes. He ended the 2011 season with 35 passes for 387 yards and 6 touchdowns, but apparently does not feature in the team's plans after the Bucs added a lot of competition at his position. With the addition of Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood and the presence of Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter he was facing an uphill battle to make the team - and he didn't help himself by missing a number of voluntary offseason workouts this season.
While Briscoe's release shouldn't pose many problems for the Bucs as they have plenty of depth at receiver, the same cannot be said for the trade of Brian Price. The Bucs do not have a lot of depth at defensive tackle, although they tried to shore up the position by signing Amobi Okoye and Gary Gibson this offseason. Gibson is mostly a run-stuffer while Okoye a more specialized pass-rusher at 3-technique.
Problematically, Okoye is currently rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, although he is expected to be ready for the regular season. Scratch that, Okoye is now healthy and off the PUP list. Still, the Bucs now lack quality depth along the defensive line, especially at nose tackle.
These moves may come as a surprise, but they're not entirely unexpected. Greg Schiano has been hard at work making the team his, and these two players are likely just the latest casualties of that long process. Schiano wants to mold the team in a certain way, and he needs players who buy in completely. Whenever a new regime takes over, a number of these kinds of moves will be made. We'll undoubtedly see more before the season starts.