Hawley has been the team’s starting center for the past two years, and the Bucs had no immediate replacement for him on the roster. They did allow him to test free agency, but apparently he couldn’t find a better deal out there than the ones the Bucs were offering.
Hawley’s not a special center by any means, but he’s a reliable starter who has a good rapport with quarterback Jameis Winston.
Both head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht have made it abundantly clear that they like their offensive line as is, even though it struggled quite a bit throughout last season. Don’t expect the Bucs to add any starting linemen this year, though they might use a late-round pick on one.
It’ll be interesting to see who the Bucs field along the offensive line now. With last year’s big name signing J.R. Sweezy returning to practice, the Bucs have four starting quality interior linemen in Hawley, Sweezy, Ali Marpet and Kevin Pamphile. Benching the latter seems like the most likely move, but would be disappointing for Pamphile given his solid play last year.