The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived former first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves on Tuesday.
The cornerback, a Florida product, was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
General manager Jason Licht said in a team statement that he and coach Bruce Arians consulted on the move.
“After thoughtful consideration over the past few weeks, Coach Arians and I came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change,” Licht said. “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.”
Arians benched Hargreaves in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals over what he perceived as a lack of hustle on a 55-yard catch by Arizona rookie receiver Andy Isabella.
Hargreaves returned late in the game and was called for pass interference on a fourth-and-5 play with 30 seconds remaining.
The Bucs held on to win 30-27.
Hargreaves had been in Arians’ doghouse before. In the team’s first OTAs of the year, Arians held him out because the cornerback wasn’t ready to practice, he said.
After Sunday’s game, Hargreaves didn’t fight Arians’ assessment of his play.
“If that’s what coach saw, that’s what he saw,” Hargreaves said. “There’s no arguing it. I need to hustle, point-blank, end of discussion. And I’ll get better. I’m sure I’ll talk with him this week and we’ll get things straightened out, and we’ll see where to go from here.”
Hargreaves started the first nine games of the season for the Buccaneers (3-6) and had 40 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and four passes defended.
In his Buccaneers career, Hargreaves played in 35 games (33 starts) and recorded 164 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble. He returned one interception for a touchdown.
Tampa Bay now has five cornerbacks on the active roster: Ryan Smith, Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and M.J. Stewart.
—Field Level Media