The Bucs have decided to place Da'Quan Bowers on injured reserve for the final week of the season, as per the team's media mouthpiece Scott Smith:
The Bucs have placed DE Da'Quan Bowers on I.R. with a knee injury. Taking his spot on the roster is 2nd-year DE Scott Solomon.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 26, 2013
It's a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the third-year defensive end, in which he made just two solo tackles, five assists and two half-sacks. The team had high hopes for Bowers heading into 2013 - so much so that they let 2012 sack leader Michael Bennett walk in free agency; unfortunately, the former Clemson standout never developed into the player the team envisioned, earning just two starts this year.
With William Gholston beginning to emerge against both the run and the pass, and Bowers never developing an array of pass-rushing moves beyond what he had entering the draft, there will be plenty of question marks surrounding Bowers as he heads into his final offseason with the team on his current contract. He will not just have to compete for playing time with Gholston, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and anyone else the team brings in to compete at LDE, but will now also have to devote part of his offseason attempting to bounce back from this knee injury that sidelined him against the Rams and ultimately put him on IR.
Of course, Bowers was very highly-rated entering the 2011 draft, at one point being considered worthy of the first overall pick before revelations about a knee injury caused his stock to tumble, allowing the team to draft him in the second round. With his snap count diminishing, a demotion to third on the depth chart behing Gholston and Te'o-Nesheim, and having only one season left on his contract, there's the possibility that Mark Dominik may trade him for a low-level conditional pick in the offseason (assuming Dominik still works for the team), as he did with another second-round defensive lineman, Brian Price.
As noted in Smith's tweet, the team filled the vacant roster spot by signing Scott Solomon, who was a seventh-round pick by the Titans in 2012. A 'tweener'-type player who can play DE in a 4-3 and OLB in a 3-4, the former Rice product appeared in 13 games for the Titans as a rookie, and one game for the Jets this season. He has been a free agent since October.