The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made one veteran cut in anticipation of the official 53-man roster crunchdown, which will take place in a couple of weeks. Per the Tampa Tribune’s Roy Cummings, Lavelle Hawkins has already received his walking papers from the Buccaneers, and an early release of a veteran is usually done as a courtesy so that the player can have extra time to latch on somewhere and learn his new team’s playbook.
Hawkins was signed by the Buccaneers in early April after spending the 2013 season with the San Diego Chargers, but he made just four appearances and recorded no receiving stats. He was used as a kick-off returner, so he brings nice special teams value. Last offseason, Hawkins was an early cut for the New England Patriots, so his inability to stick with a team is a bit troubling. He clearly fell out during the Buccaneers full-out position battle at WR for the spots behind locked-in starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and now Chris Owusu has locked himself in as the No. 3 guy.
The 28-year-old Cal product spent the majority of his career with the Tennessee Titans, as he played his first five seasons for the team, catching 47 passes for 470 yards in 2011. That was easily his best year, as he caught his only touchdown pass and appeared in all 16 games for the only time. In fact, he’s never had more than seven receptions in a game outside of that 2011 campaign. Hawkins should latch on somewhere, but he’ll probably be bottom-of-the-depth-chart fodder for the rest of his career as an emergency veteran option, but he at least deserves a cameo on a depth-needy team, especially since he can contribute on special teams.