Jaydon Mickens Cut; Jaelon Darden Your New Bucs Return Man

August 31st, 2021

Jaydon Mickens, left, helping out his eventual successor Jaelon Darden in underwear football this spring.

OK rookie, welcome to the Super Bowl champions. No more excuses, ‘kay?

It seems the Bucs decided to hand the keys to the return game to fourth-round pick Jaedon Darden despite pedestrian numbers this preseason. That’s the word from Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, who twittered the news.

In the lone return Mickens had this summer, it was a kick return for 33 yards. He averaged 24 yards a return last year.

Darden, frankly, hasn’t shown anywhere near the results this summer that Mickens had, but Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said that was due to lousy blocking.

No more excuses, Mr. Darden. It’s showtime in nine days. Results are not just expected but demanded for a team hoping to repeat as Super Bowl champs.

Welcome to the NFL.

29 Responses to “Jaydon Mickens Cut; Jaelon Darden Your New Bucs Return Man”

  1. Ricky Says:

    It feels like there are too many Mickens in this Article :p :p :p

  2. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Darden has a higher ceiling than Mick although Mick outplayed him in preseason .

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Mickens will catch on somewhere else, but I agree with the move to Darden.

  4. PassingThru Says:

    Coach is right and it is something I keep harping over. Everyone is overly focused on the return man and not the blocking. The blocking on special teams is abysmal.

  5. Medicated Pete Says:

    TB12 pre-approved the drafting of Darden. It had to be this way

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Not surprised, Mickens has a $920k salary they can get rid of……..Darden will be fine….mostly rookie mistakes…..

    Here is a question for those who might know…

    If a player has a non-guaranteed salary & is cut (Mickens & Griffin) for example….when the Bucs put them on the practice squad….do they retain their salaries….or do they get practice squad pay?

  7. BRYAN KOHN Says:

    Darden will be fine as he matures.

  8. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Mickens will be brought back in the next few days if another team does not pick him up.

  9. Mike Says:

    Darden will be fine.

  10. Hodad Says:

    I liked that we drafted Darden, but he hasn’t shown he was worth moving up in the fourth round for. If we’re being honest he looks like a 6th round pick who could use a season on the practice squad. This is why Licht needs the chips to fall as they may during the draft, and not move up for a guy who would’ve been there later in the draft. Moving up in the 4th was like giving the job to a player who clearly hasn’t earned it. Right now Mickens is a better returner, and receiver. Hope this doesn’t come back to bite us.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    @TBBF: there is a floor to PS cheese, but not a ceiling. I recall Griffin made like $1 million on the PS. That’s how to keep a PS guy from getting poached for the league minimum elsewhere.

    .pac reht fio trap ton si $ SP eht erus yttetrp m’I

  12. rrsrq Says:

    You have to start rebuilding why you have the goat (like you said a bevy of QB/offensive gurus, that should also help the receivers), Tom Moore, BA, BL, Brady, not to mention the experience of a Antonio Brown, who Darden should be watching in practice

  13. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    If Brady moved up in the draft to get him then I trust he will be fine.

  14. Beeej Says:

    I thought they might keep him after committing to only three tight ends

  15. ocala Says:

    I am sure the Bucs will sign Mickens to the practice squad if he is not claimed by another team. Don’t forget the Bucs have possibly the most dynamic punt returner in the NFL on the team in A.B.

  16. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Any word if Cyril Grayson got cut?

  17. mark2001 Says:

    One guy so far I really hated to see go. He did a fine job for us last year.

  18. SB~LV Says:

    Damn! I hope he can handle the pressure!
    It is much different now

  19. Tackleblockwin Says:

    The battle between Mickens and Darden is about more than kick/punt return. It’s also about WR duties. The Bucs know what Mickens can do at this level as WR. They are banking that Darden will “sooner than later” surpass Mickens ability at WR. I hate to see Mickens go, but I understand the move.

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    I wonder if Mickens gun charge (this summer in LA) and pending legal troubles has anything to do with this decision…

    If he is found guilty he might face suspension from the NFL.

  21. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Cmon. As much as I’m hopeful that Darden can be a great addition to this team, JM is so totally reliable and professional. By all accounts he’s a great guy.

  22. Infomeplease Says:

    Coach #1 up!!!!!! Coach his blockers up!!!!! Then you have simple math… #1 + better blocking = Points!!!! Go Bucs!!!

  23. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    No big deal.

    BA knows this offense can score and move the ball from anywhere on the field it starts.

  24. firethecannons Says:

    Mickens should be put on practice squad but I think he will be snatched right quick

  25. David Says:

    Quick, explosive, damn good hands. I have no problem with this. Kick off’s are mostly touch backs so it’s irrelevant.
    It’s all about the punt return and Darden showed flashes.

  26. Sumosam Says:

    We will miss Mickens. Good steady hands, adequate returner. There is something to be said for consistency.

  27. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Who does Cyril Grayson have pictures of? Not that I will miss the Human Touchback.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Pretty shocked by this.

    Not that Mickens was anything special, but Darden has shown nothing so far.

    No risk it no biscuit, I suppose!

  29. unbelievable Says:

    Whoops I cleared my data and forgot my username ^