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Longtime left tackle Donovan Smith released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Smith has served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting left tackle since he was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Penn State.

The one-time Super Bowl champion has performed at an exceptionally high level manning the blindside in Tampa Bay during this time.

Unfortunately, NFL finances have ended this longtime relationship. According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the Buccaneers have opted to release Smith. This move saves Tampa Bay nearly $10 million in cap room as it attempts to get compliant ahead of the March 15 deadline.

By releasing Donovan Smith, the Buccaneers are making it clear that former first-round pick Tristan Wirfs is ready to take over at left tackle. Wirfs, 24, has played on the other side of the line since being selected 13th overall out of Iowa back in 2020.

Related: Sportsnaut’s top 2023 NFL free agents

By Sportsnaut’s estimations, Tampa Bay is still roughly $47 million over the cap with just over a week to go before having to become compliant. The team is going to make several more moves here over the next few days.

As for Donovan Smith hitting the free-agent market, teams are going to have interest in him both at left tackle and right tackle. He’s started all 124 games in which he’s appeared in eight seasons, missing just six to injury.

Back in 2021 with the Buccaneers, Smith gave up a total of just one sack in 17 games. He dealt with elbow and foot injury this past season. There’s certainly going to be a market for his services in NFL free agency. That’s not even in question.