The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to start the season without left guard J.R. Sweezy, who they signed to a five-year, $32.5 million contract this offseason. The Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud reports the team will place him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which will cause him to miss at least the first five games of the regular season.
Sweezy had back surgery after signing with the team, who expected him to replace the retired Logan Mankins. Apparently the surgery was more serious than expected, although Stroud says Sweezy got a positive report from a different doctor in California, who he visited this week.
How the team passed Sweezy in a physical while he was harboing an injury that’s now going to cost him nearly a third of the regular season is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the team and Sweezy thought the injury and surgery wouldn’t be as serious or tasking as they’ve turned out to be. Sweezy has yet to practice with the Bucs since signing with them in April.
The Bucs will likely ask Kevin Pamphile to fill in for Sweezy, as they did on Thursday night in their first preseason game. Pamphile was a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and has played well when he’s been asked to step in. If he can keep that up for more than a few games at a time, the team should be mostly fine in Sweezy’s absence. Arguably, Pamphile is even a better pass-blocker than Sweezy, who was inconsistent at that part of the game in his first four years in Seattle.