Former first round pick Vernon Hargreaves was released by the Buccaneers on Tuesday following some strong criticism from head coach Bruce Arians on Sunday. The Bucs issues a statement about the release that noted Arians and GM Jason Licht have been considering this move for some time.
Hargreaves was claimed off waivers by the Houston Texans Wednesday, the only team to put a claim on the former University of Florida star.
Something else that happened Wednesday was that Bruce Arians and Jameis Winston had their first opporunity to address the media about the release. Arians was blunt and short about the situation. He simply told the media that “the statement said everything” and that the decision was “not hard.”
He was asked if he felt it sent a messsage to the team, to which he responded, “yeah, I don’t really want to get into it, but it’s a decision Jason and I made.” Arians also said that it was a cumulative decision based off the body of work this season.
Jameis Winston knows all about pressure of being a first round pick and coming out of a school that many Bucs fans root for on Saturdays. Winston was asked about the release of Hargreaves, saying;
“It was eye-opening to me, but I know Vernon, I know the type of player that he is. I’ve been playing against him for a long time – I know he’s going to bounce back and he’ll be a superstar again.”
For Winston, I’m sure it was eye opening. Winston is in his fifth-year option as Hargreaves was about to enter into. He’s had some great games this season, but had a rough stretch during the Bucs’ losing streak. He’s playing for a new contract and has seen that draft position doesn’t matter - if you aren’t performing, you aren’t on the team anymore.
Hargreaves had his fifth-year option picked up, but it didn’t become guaranteed until 2020, allowing the Bucs to release him without owing him any of the $9.9-million dollars the option would have cost. And now that the Texans claimed him off waivers, the Bucs aren’t responsible for any of his remaining 2019 salary either.