Two days after benching, Buccaneers cut 2016 first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves

Shalise Manza Young
·Yahoo Sports Columnist

Less than 48 hours after he was benched for perceived lack of effort, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have cut cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.

The team’s 2016 first-round pick, Bruce Arians benched Hargreaves in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals, saying after that Hargreaves “didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle.”

He ended up coming back onto the field in the fourth quarter after an injury to another cornerback.

After the game, Hargreaves said he planned to talk to Arians and the two would get “things straightened out.”

Given the timing of his release, one wonders if that conversation wasn’t exactly congenial.

In a statement announcing the transaction, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said, “After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, Coach Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change. Decisions such as this are always difficult, but we felt it was in the best interest of our team to part ways with Vernon at this time and allow him to explore other opportunities.

“We are disappointed that it did not work out here for Vernon and we wish him continued success moving forward.”

Hargreaves had started the first nine games of this season, but had only been available for 10 games over the 2017-18 seasons — last year it was a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 1, and two years ago it was a hamstring injury.

As noted by ESPN Buccaneers reporter Jenna Laine, Hargreaves’ release means just one of the seven players Licht’s staff drafted in 2016 remain on the roster — fourth-round cornerback Ryan Smith, who has an extremely limited role on defense but is a core special-teamer.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released CB Vernon Hargreaves on Tuesday. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released CB Vernon Hargreaves on Tuesday. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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