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The Pro Bowlers the Buccaneers let go in 2012 have won three Super Bowls

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Once upon a time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a host of talented players. Then they failed to re-sign most of them, and now they’re all in the Pro Bowl. Oops.

Back in 2012, Greg Schiano had just become the team’s new head coach, and retained most of the roster left over from Raheem Morris’ tenure.

Of the five Pro Bowlers no longer on the roster, Aqib Talib was the first to go: he was traded to the New England Patriots by mid-season during a four-game suspension in exchange for a fourth-round pick, which the Bucs then used on William Gholston. Talib was playing on an expiring contract, and the Bucs didn’t want to deal with his off-field issues any more. Their loss: Talib has since gone to four straight Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl, and has continued to get into off-field trouble.

Legarrette Blount and Michael Bennett were next to leave. Blount was traded to the Patriots, for a seventh-round pick after Doug Martin’s stellar rookie year (oops), and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

Bennett was not resigned for reasons that remain baffling, and has also managed to win a Super Bowl, as well as going to two straight Pro Bowls. He’s been an outstanding and versatile pass-rusher for the Seattle Seahawks, and a key cog in their perpetually dominant defense. Meanwhile, the Bucs haven’t had a double-digit sack artist since Simeon Rice.

Finally, there’s Donald Penn and Jeremy Zuttah. Both of them were let go when Greg Schiano was fired, and Lovie Smith and Jason Licht decided that their offensive line would be much better served by Evan Smith and Anthony Collins. Oooooops. At least Zuttah and Penn didn’t win a Super Bowl.