Recent Pittsburgh Steelers guard and Tampa Bay area native Brandon Walton didn’t wait long to find a new home with the Buccaneers.
“What an opportunity. Forever grateful,” Walton tweeted after receiving news of the Bucs claiming him off waivers on Wednesday.
The Steelers waived Walton on Tuesday after playing in two preseason games for the team. With a 44-year-old quarterback in Tom Brady, it behooved the Bucs to added offensive line depth to a depleted position group.
Amid acquiring Walton, the Bucs waived safety Raven Greene to clear a spot for Walton on the 85-man roster. Greene didn’t get on the field during training camp due to injury.
The Bucs waived Greene “with an injury designation”, according to USA Today’s Bucs Wire. That means the Bucs retain Greene on injured reserve if another team doesn’t claim him on waivers according to CBS Sports.
Walton arrives to add depth to a banged-up offensive line. Rookie center Robert Hainsey missed almost two weeks of practice due to injury, guard Sadarius Hutcherson tore his ACL, and guard John Molchon sustained an “apparent leg injury” on Wednesday according to Buccaneers.com’s Carmen Vitali. Center Donnell Stanley also got injured before being waived by the Bucs.
Head coach Bruce Arians addressed the offensive line health concerns early in the week before the second preseason game with Tennessee on Saturday. Arians also said he doesn’t want to play starters in general, including Brady, against the Titans.
“We’re going to work somebody out in the morning and hopefully find another fresh body that can play in this ball game,” Arians said per Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs. “I really don’t want to put starters back in or put them in at all if I don’t have to. The offensive line might play in this game if only by necessity and we’ll see how that goes.”
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Walton Returns Home to Tampa Bay Area
Walton, who spent most of the 2020 season with the Steelers, gets a homecoming of sorts since he grew up in Largo, a city in the Tampa Bay Area, and played at Seminole High School according to the Suncoast News Network.
The 6-foot-4, 311-pound tackle played for the Florida Atlantic Owls in college, winning all-conference honors in 2019. He played in 44 games in four seasons.
Buffalo signed him after going undrafted in 2020, but the Bills waived him before the season. Since COVID nixed the 2020 preseason, Walton got his first preseason naps this year with the Steelers. He played 53 snaps with no penalties committed according to Pro Football Talk.
Injury Foils Promising Greene Signing
Tampa made few free agent signings during the offseason because the team secured all 22 starters from its 2020 Super Bowl squad. The Bucs signed Greene on May 5 after he dropped a hint on Twitter that he was leaving Green Bay.
Greene became one of the few notable signings since he played significant snaps for the Packers during the past three seasons. He tallied 56 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and 2.5 sacks in 20 game appearances per Pro Football Talk. The former FCS James Madison standout entered the NFL undrafted.
The Bucs signed him to a salary cap-friendly contract at the veteran minimum according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman.