Buccaneers Cut Tight End Prior to Signing Julio Jones

Todd Bowles

Getty The Buccaneers have released veteran tight end Codey McElroy.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have cut a veteran tight end.

Just minutes before signing former All-Pro receiver Julio Jones on Tuesday, July 26, the Buccaneers made a move in order to clear roster space for the veteran receiver. As reported by Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay released tight end Codey McElroy.

“Bucs waive TE Codey McElroy, who spent most of his time in the practice squad but appeared in three career games,” said Stroud. “His only reception for 30 yards came in 2019.”

McElroy had spent time with the Buccaneers over the past three seasons, appearing in three games towards the end of the 2019 season. Although he was waived prior to the start of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, McElroy had spent time on the practice squad during each of those seasons.

Injury, Loaded Depth Chart Make McElroy Expendable

As reported by ESPN, McElroy had been dealing with a nagging foot injury. McElroy will undergo foot surgery this week.

“Also Tuesday, the Bucs waived tight end Codey McElroy with an injury designation. A source told ESPN that McElroy will undergo foot surgery this week after dealing with the injury during the offseason.”

However, as Stroud notes, the addition of two rookie draft selections in Cade Otton and Ko Kieft — along with the signing of veteran Kyle Rudolph — made McElroy expendable.

“The signing of Giants free agent Kyle Rudolph made McElroy expendable,” says Stroud. “TE room includes Rudolph, Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, Ben Beise and JJ Howland.”

The Buccaneers will likely enter the season with three or four tight ends. The veteran combination of Rudolph and Brate will attempt to fill the void left by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. Fourth-round pick Cade Otton could figure into the equation, while sixth-round pick Kieft could stick around as a specialty blocker or practice squad member.

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Buccaneers Sign Julio Jones to 1-Year Deal

Tampa Bay just might have the most stacked receiving core in the NFL following the signing of Jones.

As mentioned earlier, the Buccaneers made a major move during the start of training camp with the addition of the seven-time Pro Bowler. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports it’s a one-year deal.

Jones had been a free agent since his release from the Tennessee Titans back in March. The 33-year-old had his worst year as a pro, posting just 31 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown. Jones had been limited to just 10 games during the season due to a nagging hamstring injury.

However, Jones remained a solid player when he was on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones posted a 74.2 offensive grade, ranking 34th among all receivers with at least 45 targets last season.

The Buccaneers are very familiar with Jones considering he spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. The former sixth overall pick has totaled 114 catches for 1,841 yards and 11 touchdowns against the Buccaneers. As Greg Auman of The Athletic notes, that’s the most yardage and receptions posted versus the Buccaneers by a single player.

With Chris Godwin still recovering from an ACL injury — he won’t begin the season on the PUP list, a good sign for his recovery — and the Buccaneers looking to ensure Tom Brady is not lacking in offensive weapons, the Jones signing is definitely a welcome addition for Tampa Bay.

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