TAMPA — The Bucs signed veteran Deone Bucannon to a $2.5 million contract back in March because of his familiarity with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles system.
Bucannon played for Bowles in Arizona, and could offer flexibility as both an inside linebacker and potentially safety.
Since the season began, however, Bucannon rarely saw the field on defense, and on Tuesday leading up to the Bucs’ Week 6 game against the Panthers in London, the team released the 27-year-old Bucannon.
By releasing Bucannon before Week 9, the Bucs will receive a third-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft. They are still responsible for his full salary.
The Bucs signed linebacker Noah Hawkins, a Bengals practice squad player, to take Bucannon's spot on the 53-man active roster.
Bucannon signed in March, a month before the team made Devin White their first-round draft pick to be one of the team’s starting inside linebackers alongside Lavonte David.
The Bucs’ new coaching staff still saw Bucannon as a fit because he could play multiple positions, but he played exclusively on special teams, seeing just 10 defensive snaps and didn’t have a single play on defense in two of the last three games.
The biggest sign that Bucannon's days might be numbered was when he didn't see the field on defense in Sunday's loss in New Orleans, even though White dressed but what scratched before the game. The Bucs played just two inside linebackers, David and Kevin Minter.
Dawkins played collegiately at The Citadel and logged 66 tackles, including 13½ for loss, and 5 1/2 sacks as a senior, earning All-Southern Conference honors. At his pro day, he ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, and reported ran a 4.37 the week before.
The Bucs also signed running Darius Jackson and quarterback Chad Kanoff to the practice squad, and waived RB Tony Brooks-James and QB Nick Fitzgerald from the practice squad.
Getting thinner on the right side
As expected, starting right tackle Demar Dotson did not practice on Wednesday as the Bucs started practice week. The team expects Dotson to miss Sunday’s game with calf and hamstring injuries, but his projected replacement at right tackle, Josh Wells, did not practice Wednesday because he’s attending to a family matter.
That leaves Jerald Hawkins, who practiced at right tackle on Wednesday.
The Bucs also will be without right guard Alex Cappa, who broke his left arm in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Earl Watford will start for him against the Panthers.
— Bucs defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh did not practice with the other interior linemen during Wednesday’s practice session open to media.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org, Follow @EddieInTheYard.