Source: Buccaneers releasing starting LT Smith

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Source: Buccaneers releasing left tackle Donovan Smith

2:33 PM ET

  • Jenna LaineESPN Staff Writer


    • Covered the Buccaneers since 2009
    • Joined ESPN in 2016

TAMPA, Fla. — The Buccaneers’ roster purge continues with the team releasing starting left tackle Donovan Smith, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday.

Smith’s release is expected to happen later Tuesday, the source said.

The Bucs entered this offseason $55 million over the salary cap — $35 million of it going towards recently retired quarterback Tom Brady — and have to become cap compliant by 4 p.m. on March 15 when the new league year begins, so the move was expected. The Bucs must not only get out of the red but must address the quarterback situation as Kyle Trask is currently the only quarterback on their roster.

Smith had a $17.9 million cap hit for 2023, fifth highest of any current player on the Bucs’ roster. Smith’s release opens up $9.95 million in cap space but also creates $7.95 million in dead money.

They’ve also expected to release tight end Cameron Brate and running back Leonard Fournette, who told the Tampa Bay Times last week that he requested his release.

A second-round draft pick in 2015, Smith, 29, went on to start 124 regular season games — sixth-most of any offensive lineman in the league from 2015-2022. But he had one of his worst seasons as a starter in 2022, with a pass rush win rate of 78.3% and a 64.9% run blocking win rate.

He also dealt with elbow and foot injuries during the 2022 season, causing him to miss four regular-season games.

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