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The 2018 Bubble: Who is the odd man out at each offensive position?

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A quick look at potential roster casualties during the Bucs 2018 offseason.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minicamp
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With mandatory minicamp set to begin next Tuesday, now is the time to take a look at who may be on the outside looking in and who needs to step it up this offseason in order to keep their job with the Buccaneers.

The owners voted down the first round of roster cuts last year. So now, teams can give all 90 players a chance to make a lasting impression before September 1st. Teams also have until September 2nd to fill out their 10-man practice squad(s).

Each position will be listed in order according to the Bucs’ most recent depth chart, e.g. Jameis Winston the starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick the backup, and so on. Note: we are aware that there are no official depth charts available until before the first pre-season game of 2018. Player contracts are hyperlinked with their name(s).

Quarterback

  • Jameis Winston - Obviously the starter and the franchise. Winston is in no trouble.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick - He’s expensive, but he’s a good backup. Fitzpatrick stays.
  • Ryan Griffin - At $1.3 million, Griffin is third quarterback on the roster with a seven-figure salary. Griffin’s release would save Tampa that much cap room with no dead money penalty.
  • Austin Allen - Allen is by far and away the odd man out unless he has a stellar camp.

The Bucs could save over $1.7 million if they were to cut both Griffin and Allen. Griffin was reportedly “outplaying” Fitzpatrick before hurting his shoulder in camp last season, but if Griffin struggles this offseason, then it may be his last in Tampa.

Running Back

  • Jacquizz Rodgers - A veteran presence and he knows the playbook inside and out.
  • Ronald Jones II - There is no possible way Jones II is cut. Plain and simple.
  • Charles Sims - He’s been effective in the past and knows the system. But he’s a one-trick pony.
  • Peyton Barber - A great in-between the tackles runner who came on toward the end of last season.
  • Dalton Crossan - A crowded backfield is usually no place for an undrafted rookie.

This one could get tricky. The Bucs could save $1.6 million by cutting Rodgers, while Barber and Sims will cost them just over $1 million combined. It looks as if Crossan and Rodgers will be on the outskirts come roster cuts due to the fact that it’s very unlikely Tampa carries four backs into the season.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

  • Mike Evans - Are you kidding me? I didn’t even want to type his name, originally.
  • Desean Jackson - Even though he had an off year, Jackson is still very valuable.
  • Adam Humphries - Humphries is a great slot receiver and shouldn’t see his role decrease.
  • Chris Godwin - Godwin should have a breakout year in 2018.
  • Freddie Martino - Martino has made plays before, but can he stay consistent?
  • Justin Watson - It’ll be hard for the Bucs to cut one of their most recent draft picks.
  • Bobo Wilson - Despite the rave reviews, it remains to be seen if Wilson makes the roster.
  • Bernard Reedy - Reedy is primarily a return man, but that could save him in the end.
  • Sergio Bailey - It’ll be tough for Bailey to climb this ladder, but anything is possible.

It’s hard to envision Tampa taking more than five receivers into the season. Wilson, Bailey, and Martino will be either released or assigned to the practice squad, with Reedy finding a spot in the return game. Watson will stick around for depth.

Tight End

  • Cameron Brate - One of the NFL’s best tight ends. No way he is cut.
  • O.J. Howard - One of the NFL’s best, young tight ends. He makes the roster.
  • Alan Cross - Cross can block and catch when needed. It’s hard to see him getting cut.
  • Antony Auclair - Auclair needs a strong camp to make the roster, but should be able to in the end.
  • Tanner Hudson - Little is known about Hudson, but a good showing during the offseason can change anything.
  • Jason Reese - It’s going to be very hard for Reese to make the practice squad, much less the active roster.

The Bucs are super-talented at the tight end position. With over $10 million invested in the position, however, it doesn’t seem likely at all that Hudson and Reese make the active roster.

Offensive Guard/Center

  • Ryan Jensen - Tampa’s newest offensive lineman via free agency. Jensen is safe.
  • Ali Marpet - Arguably the Bucs’ best offensive lineman.
  • Evan Smith - Smith is more of a backup at this point, but is almost a lock to make the roster.
  • J.R. Sweezy - He’s getting paid big bucks so he’ll likely stay on board.
  • Alex Cappa - Following the footsteps of Marpet, Cappa may end up starting as a rookie.
  • Givens Price - One of the first of a few cuts on the interior line. Tampa just doesn’t have room.
  • Cole Boozer - Boozer is as tough as they come, but he’s not tough enough to stay on the roster.
  • Adam Gettis - Just a man trying to keep living his dream at this point.

The Bucs carried five interior linemen in 2017 and had just one player at the position on their practice squad. Marpet’s experience at the center position offers a lot of flexibility with the rotation up front. Price, Boozer, and Gettis won’t make the active roster, but could easily end up on the practice squad due to potential depth concerns.

Offensive Tackle

  • Donovan Smith - He regressed in 2017 but that was hopefully just an anomaly.
  • Demar Dotson - Dotson has been steady over the years. Will his recent injury prevent him from making the team?
  • Leonard Wester - More of a backup at this point. Wester provides good depth.
  • Caleb Benenoch - Could possibly be the future at RT for the Bucs. Will this be the year he makes his move?
  • Cole Gardner - It doesn’t seem likely that Gardner will make this one.
  • Michael Liedtke - Listed as a guard per position, but on the depth chart as a tackle. Can Liedtke find his way?
  • Ruben Holcomb - Holcomb is more suited for left tackle.
  • Brad Seaton - Another player buried on the chart. Seaton will have to play his butt off to make the team.

Honestly, if Benenoch has a really good camp, I could see the Bucs cutting Dotson. It would save the Bucs around $4.3 million in cap room alone and give them a building block for the future. That move would also create a pretty serious depth issue, so it’s hard to see that happening at the same time. Tampa carried four tackles for most of last year. Odds are that Garner, Liedtke, Holcomb, and Seaton will bite the dust come roster cuts.