The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed defensive end Jacquies Smith on injured reserve with a knee injury, the team announced. The fourth-year veteran tore his ACL against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday after playing just one defensive snap.
Smith was getting progressively better every season, notching seven sacks in 12 games last year after putting up 6.5 in 15 in 2014. He was expected to play a big role in the Bucs’ pass rush rotation, but instead he’ll hit the free agency market after a year spent on injured reserve — not ideal for any player.
The Bucs will now have to figure out how to compensate for Smith’s absence. That will likely mean an expanded role for rookie Noah Spence, who didn’t get all that much done against the Falcons, and more playing time for Howard Jones, who played just three snaps.
The team may also want to look at re-signing Kourtnei Brown, the defensive end/linebacker who was let go during the final roster cutdowns. The Bucs instead kept rookie Channing Ward, but he’s more of a hybrid defensive end/tackle than an impact pass rusher.