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Buccaneers release Tim Jennings, activate Demar Dotson

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released cornerback Tim Jennings to make way for tackle Demar Dotson, who is returning from injured reserve after tearing his MCL in the preseason, the team has announced.

Jennings' release comes as a surprise, even though he hasn't played a snap on defense in the past three games. As a vested veteran, he can claim the balance of his salary after the season, although that won't be all that much -- the Bucs signed him to a minimum deal, as he was getting paid $4.4 million in guaranteed base salary by the Bears,

Still, Jennings was signed during week one after the Chicago Bears released him in preseason, and the Bucs liked his speed and veteran experience enough to promote him to starter in week two. Jennings struggled throughout the rest of the year, until he was benched after the bye week. The Bucs haven't been able to find any reliable cornerback play this year, though Sterling Moore, Alterraun Vernrer and undrafted rookie Jude Adjei-Barimah held up well against the New York Giants. Their play may have motivated the Bucs to say goodbye to Jennings.

Meanwhile, Dotson's return from injury should help an already decent-looking Tampa Bay offensive line. Gosder Cherilus has been an okay fill-in at right tackle, but Dotson is one of the better right tackles in the league and should slide right in, if he's completely healed and game-ready. With Ali Marpet suffering an ankle injury of unknown severity yesterday, the Bucs could conceivably slide Cherilus inside to right guard for now, or keep center Evan Smith there. Either way, the Bucs have quality starters and solid depth along the offensive line now.