The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released starting right guard and former team captain Davin Joseph, as first reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
He was scheduled to make $6 million in 2014.
“Decisions like this are never easy when it comes to parting ways with players such as Davin,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a statement issued by the team.
“We thank Davin for his contributions on and off the field during his eight years in Tampa Bay and we wish him well in the future. Every decision we make during this time leading up to free agency is with the intention of improving our roster and building towards becoming a championship team once again.”
A first-round draft pick by the Bucs in 2006, Joseph started 99 games in seven seasons and reaching the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2011. He missed all of 2012 with a ruptured patellar tendon in his knee.
The injury slowed him last season, as did a staph infection.
At the NFL Scouting Combine last month, head coach Lovie Smith said that he was disappointed in the offensive line’s performance last season.
“We didn’t play as well as we need to on the offensive line. We put a lot of money into our offensive line. We should have better production from it.”
Joseph wasn’t the only high-paid player who struggled to regain form last season after injury. Starting left guard Carl Nicks was limited to just two games due to a MRSA infection, and he was placed on season-ending IR in 2012 due to a torn plantar plate in his toe.
The team currently has $9 million invested in Nicks.
While in Tampa, Joseph survived three head coaching changes and two general managers. The 23rd overall pick by Bruce Allen in 2006, Joseph was the first offensive lineman drafted in the first round by the Bucs since 2001 and the first guard taken since 1982.
In 2011, Joseph agreed to terms on a seven-year, $53 million contract with a reported $19 million guaranteed.
The move frees up approximately $24 million in cap space.