Three days before free agency begins for the NFL, the Bucs released right guard Davin Joseph, their first-round pick in 2006 who started 99 games over the past seven seasons. Head coach Lovie Smith has said he does not believe the Bucs got their money's worth from some offensive linemen last season, and put some action behind his words on Saturday.
Joseph was a solid part of the Bucs offensive line for seven solid seasons, playing as right guard next to the center. A guard in football has two primary jobs, to protect the quarterback, and to open holes for the running back. At 6'3 and weighing in at 313 pounds, Joseph was a catalyst in preventing sacks. He recorded four tackles in his career, and became a recognizable force for the Bucs offensive line's success.
In the 2012 preseason, Joseph suffered a torn ACL while playing the New England Patriots in an August exhibition game. The Bucs placed him on the injured reserve list and ended his season before it began.
|U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia (Joseph on right)|
Joseph was owed a $6 million salary to go with a $6 million cap hit, but the good news for Tampa Bay is that he doesn't leave behind any dead money. His release came after Tampa Bay failed in an attempt to trade him and a few minutes after the noon start for teams to contact free agents. Joseph, a Pro Bowl pick in 2008 and 2011, doesn't seem too shocked.
I'm never surprised by anything that happens in this league. I learned that seeing some other Tampa Bay greats get released. Their house, their rules. It's a new coaching staff, and they want to bring in their guys and start something new.In 2013, the Bucs ranked 22nd in the league in rushing and allowed 47 sacks, tied for sixth most. Much, if not all of Joseph's game is based on power and movement, and neither was the same as before the 2012 torn ACL injury. Joseph is still optimistic that he will play in 2014.
It will be a different year for me, and I'm looking forward to starting the season healthy and playing back to my old self next year.Joseph is 30 years old, and will turn 31 this year. An eight-year veteran could bring toughness and leadership to any offensive line. If given a chance, he could once again make the "forgotten position" of a guard be remembered as one of the most important assets to the quarterback.
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