Buccaneers cut former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves after corner admits to lack of hustle
Drafted 11th overall in 2016, Hargreaves played just one full season with Tampa Bay
Vernon Hargreaves has been struggling to live up to his first-round reputation for a long time, but now he'll no longer have to try, at least while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and since confirmed by the team, the Bucs have waived the 24-year-old cornerback, parting ways with the 11th overall selection of the 2016 draft days after he admitted to a lack of hustle during Tampa Bay's 30-27 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
Billed as one of the top corner prospects of his class coming out of Florida, Hargreaves started all 16 games as a rookie, logging a career-best 76 tackles to go along with two turnovers. Since then, however, he's been dogged by injuries and inconsistency, missing just about half his sophomore season with a hamstring issue and all but one game in 2018 thanks to a shoulder problem. Early this offseason, new Bucs coach Bruce Arians held him out of practice because he believed the corner was not prepared, as NFL Network noted, and then reprimanded Hargreaves again this week, benching him in the third quarter of the Arizona game and telling reporters it didn't look like he hustled to make a tackle.
Hargreaves didn't refute Arians' claim, per NFL.com, saying after the game "there's no arguing it" and promising more hustle, as well as a meeting with Arians to straighten things out. Evidently, things weren't straightened out.
Because he was waived, Hargreaves will be subjected to the waiver process, meaning the other 31 NFL teams will have an opportunity to claim him before he hits the open market. While he's only 24 and carries a big name, the fourth-year defensive back also boasts a 2020 salary of $9.954 million thanks to Tampa Bay exercising his fifth-year option prior to the season. The Bucs, meanwhile, figure to rely even more heavily on their 2019 reinforcements at corner, where they spent two early-round draft picks this past April.
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