It took everyone by surprise on Tuesday when the news began to filter out that the Buccaneers were parting ways with former first round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves.
Hargreaves was benched in the second half of the game against the Cardinals after Bruce Arians said that he did not hustle and show good effort in allowing Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella to ramble 55 yards on a pass from Kyler Murray.
On Tuesday, the Bucs told Hargreaves that his talents and effort or lack there of, would no longer be needed.
Hargreaves a Tampa native from Wharton High School had a stellar career at the University of Florida and was taken number 11 by the Bucs in the 2016 draft.
Hargreaves never was able to reach his potential in Tampa despite being given a ton of opportunity.
Hargreaves missed a ton of playing time two out of the last three seasons with various injuries and when he did play, he played tentatively and sometimes with minimal effort.
This move comes at a bad time for the Bucs with defensive backs Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart battling injuries, and according to Bruce Arians it is not looking good for these two guys to be able to go on Sunday against the Saints.
The 2016 draft class will go down as one of the worst in the Jason Licht era so far, as only cornerback Ryan Smith remains with the Buccaneers from that draft class.
The Bucs have parted ways with linemen Noah Spence their second round pick, offensive linemen Caleb Benenoch a fifth round pick, linebacker Davonte Bond, tight end Danny Vitale, and Hargreaves their number one pick.
It’s amazing that Jason Licht continues to get a free pass for his draft selections. The class of 2016 now appears to be a lost class. And yet everyone puts the blame for the Bucs woes at the feet of Jameis Winston.
Her are two major reason why the Bucs released Hargreaves.
1. Lack of effort and his overall attitude.
This was a move designed to get the attention of the team. Bruce Arians sending a message to the team that a lack of hustle and effort will not be tolerated.
As Arians said today in his weekly press conference. “You control two things, your effort and your attitude.” Hargreaves seemed to have a good attitude as his teammates spoke highly of him, but the effort just wasn’t there.
Hargreaves played in 35 games for Bucs and over that time had just two interceptions and 19 passes defensed. This is not the kind of production that you expect and need from the 11th pick in the draft.
You can count on one hand the number of games that Hargreaves played in where he actually had an impact on the outcome of the game. Hargreaves best game as a pro may have been the second game of this season in Carolina where he had 12 tackles and made a game saving tackle on Christian McCaffrey as time ran out to secure the Bucs win.
2. Money. It seems money always comes into the conversation somewhere. Hargreaves was signed through 2020 at a cost of $9 million for next season.
The Bucs will now be able to save that $9 million dollars and use that money to improve the team for 2020.
The Bucs will now deploy one of the youngest secondary’s in the league in rookies Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards, and Sean Murphy Bunting.
Add in second year players Carlton Davis, Jordan Whitehead, and MJ Stewart you have a lot of youth and inexperience.
Andrew Adams and Ryan Smith are suddenly the veterans in the group and the Bucs just promoted cornerback Mazzi Wilkins from the practice squad.
With Drew Brees and one of the leagues best past offenses coming to town on Sunday, it could be another long Sunday afternoon for the young secondary.