It was announced today that the Buccaneers have cut guard Davin Joseph, whom they drafted in 2006 out of the University of Oklahoma. Joseph started 12 games as a rookie and was a fixture on the line since then, making the Pro Bowl after the 2008 and 2011 seasons.
He is a mountain of a man at 6'4" and 313 pounds, and helped the Bucs inexplicably make the playoffs in 2010. However, during the 2012 preseason he injured his leg and missed the entire season on injured reserve. He came back in 2013 but did not play up to his standard and was benched late in the year. In addition to his knee injury, it's also known that Joseph suffered a staph infection when MRSA was going around the Tampa Bay facilities, but Joseph insists he never actually contracted MRSA itself.
The Bucs are trying to clear as much cap room as possible, and in addition to Joseph becoming a cap casualty, it's rumored that left tackle Donald Penn and center Jeremy Zuttah may also find themselves looking for work. The Bucs saved $6 million by releasing Joseph which will help allow them to get in on the free agent sweepstakes.
The Buccaneers' loss may be the Raiders' gain. Joseph is a Pro Bowl level player when healthy, which he clearly was not last season. He signed a seven-year, $53M contract with the Bucs in 2011 but with his age (30) and injury history he won't be able to ask for anywhere near that figure this off-season. He could end up being a bargain if he shows that he is fully recovered from his injuries.
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson is familiar with Joseph, having been the offensive coordinator for Tampa in 2010 when Joseph was an integral part of the surprising success of Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams during the Bucs' playoff run. He is in the best position to know what a healthy Joseph can bring to the Raiders and to design plays to best utilize his talents.Raider fans know that the Raiders offense operates best when there is a solid left guard like Robert Gallery or Stefen Wisniewski in the role, and not a scrub like we have seen of late.
Davin Joseph's injuries are certainly worrisome as is his dropoff in performance last season. However, given his history of a high level of play and his familiar with Greg Olson's scheme, he is at least worth a workout and he may be the first step in rebuilding the Oakland offensive line.