The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are losing out one of their key players in recent years.
Following his release during 53-man roster cuts on Tuesday, August 30, wide receiver Tyler Johnson has been claimed by another team. According to a report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Johnson is being claimed off waivers by the Houston Texans.
“Texans claimed former Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson,” says Garafolo.
Johnson Was Buccaneers’ Best Receiver During Preseason
The 24-year-old Johnson had impressed during the preseason, statistically establishing himself as the best receiver on the Buccaneers. The third-year wideout posted totals of 11 receptions for 133 yards, leading all Tampa Bay players during the preseason. However, the impressive preseason showing wasn’t enough despite the Buccaneers retaining seven receivers.
Outside of the big four of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Julio Jones, Tampa Bay opted to keep special teams returner Jaelon Darden, veteran Breshad Perriman and Scotty Miller, a favorite target of Tom Brady’s during the 2020 Super Bowl season.
As noted by Luke Easterling of Bucs Wire, Johnson was the most “surprising” cut for the Buccaneers, considering he outperformed players such as Perriman and Miller during the preseason.
“Johnson was the most surprising cut the Bucs made as they whittled down their roster from 80 players to 53 prior to Tuesday’s deadline,” says Easterling. “A fifth-round pick out of Minnesota in the 2020 NFL draft, Johnson has shown flashes of potential throughout his two seasons in Tampa Bay, but also struggled with drops and consistency.”
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Why the Buccaneers Released Johnson
Bucs head coach Bowles explained the decision behind waiving Johnson — which largely had to do with his lack of contributions on special teams, rather than his ability as a receiver.
“That was tough,” Bowles remarked. “We have a lot of receivers. When you get down to the fifth and sixth receiver, Jaelon (Darden) returns punts and kicks. Tyler is the sixth receivers to dress on Sundays. You have to be to be able to play special teams and contribute.”
“Great pass receiver, very good catcher, he can catch the ball, very good player,” Bowles continued. “No special teams value. Once you get past the top four or five, you have to have more value than just catching the footballs. Because you won’t dress on Sundays.”
During Johnson’s two seasons with the Buccaneers, the former fifth-round draft choice posted 48 receptions for 529 yards. He emerged as one of Tampa Bay’s top options at the end of the season last year due to key absences and injuries — Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski — finishing with 36 receptions on 55 targets for 360 receiving yards.
However, he failed to post a single touchdown, as reserve receivers such as Breshad Perriman — caught 58-yard game-winning touchdown pass versus Buffalo Bills — and Cyril Grayson — caught game-winning touchdown pass versus New York Jets — came up with highlight plays during that stretch.
With the Texans lacking reliable veteran options outside of Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett, Johnson will have every opportunity to emerge as one of Houston’s top receiving options.