Buccaneers Release DE Jones

October 8 – The Buccaneers released defensive end Marcus Jones from the injured reserve on Tuesday, which made Tampa Bay's 1996 first-round draft pick a free agent. Jones was placed on the IR on September 1 after suffering a knee injury during the team's preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

In a somewhat anticipated move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released defensive end Marcus Jones from the injured reserve on Tuesday, which made the Buccaneers 1996 first-round draft pick a free agent.

Jones suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during the Bucs' preseason game against the Washington Redskins on August 24 and was placed on the IR by the team on September 1. He saw action in 84 games and started 39 of them with the Bucs during his six-year tenure with Tampa Bay. He recorded 157 tackles and 24 sacks during his career with the Bucs.

Jones' outing as a Buc was a rocky one. He struggled during his first two seasons with the Bucs, which was why Tampa Bay placed Jones on the expansion list in 1999, but the Cleveland Browns chose to pass on him. In 2000, Jones finally produced by recording a career-high 13 sacks. He was in a contract year, which was why the Bucs rewarded Jones with a seven-year, $40.25-million contract extension toward the end of the 2000 season. The contract included a $5.25 signing bonus.

But Jones' success at right end was short-lived. In 2001, the Bucs signed right defensive end Simeon Rice, which led to Tampa Bay's decision to move Jones over from right to left end. He didn't fare well, though, finishing the ‘01 season with just 39 tackles and three sacks. The team was not pleased with the return on their investment, so they placed Jones on the expansion list again last February, but this time, the Houston Texans passed on him and his $3.75 million per-year actual total salary.

Jones was bothered by a nagging shoulder injury toward the end of '01, which required offseason surgery and sidelined him for two of the team's three mini-camp sessions and at least a week worth of practices during training camp..

Bucs DE Greg Spires, who the Bucs signed to a three-year contract during the offseason to replace backup DE Steve White, filled in for Jones during offseason workouts and training camp and performed well. Spires is currently Tampa Bay's starting left end.

Spires' impressive play along with Jones' injuries, inconsistent play and high cap value ultimately led to his release.


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