TAMPA, Fla. — With a dwindling number of snaps for Deone Bucannon and a desire to get younger at inside linebacker, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the veteran on Wednesday.

Bucannon, who was a first-round draft pick by Bucs coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator when they were with the Arizona Cardinals in 2014, signed with Tampa Bay in free agency to compete for a starting inside linebacker spot. The Bucs ultimately drafted Devin White with the fifth overall pick, however, and have since made Lavonte David a focal point of the defense.

Bucannon, 27, stepped in when David missed the preseason while recovering from knee surgery, but it was Kevin Minter, another former Cardinal, who replaced White when he missed three games with a sprained MCL.

When Devante Bond, a core special-teams player who plays inside and outside linebacker, missed two games with a hamstring injury, Bucannon did not step in. He was seldom used on special teams in Arizona as well.

Bucannon was known for his role as a hybrid safety/inside linebacker in Arizona, but he wasn’t used in that capacity in Tampa.

As a vested veteran, Bucannon is now a free agent and can sign with any team. Prior to signing with Tampa Bay, the New York Giants had expressed interest in signing Bucannon, which would have reunited him with James Bettcher, another former Cardinals coach.

The Bucs have also signed Noah Dawkins, an undrafted free agent out of the Citadel, from the Cincinnati Bengals‘ practice squad.


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