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Former Falcons center Joe Hawley visits Buccaneers

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting center Joe Hawley for a visit today, according to Rick Stroud. The Atlanta Falcons released Hawley earlier this week after he started 23 games over the past five years for them. Hawley was set to be the Falcons' starting center last year, but missed most of the season with a torn ACL that still limited him in training camp this year.

Hawley played three of his five seasons in the NFL under Dirk Koetter, which probably has a lot do with the team bringing him in now. Equally relevant is the fact that the Bucs have little depth at center behind Evan Smith, who himself hasn't looked better than average. Not that Hawley's likely to be an upgrade over Smith, but he should give the team more reliable backup play than they can get out of Jeremiah Warren and waiver wire pickup Eric Kush.

Hawley lost his starting spot with the Falcons during the preseason, and was too expensive to keep as a backup for Atlanta. The Bucs should be able to sign him to a cheaper deal than the $3.5 million he was set to earn with the Falcons this year.