Donovan Smith Released

March 7th, 2023


UPDATED 3:05 p.m. – Loud Bucs fans officially got their long-desired wish today. Left tackle Donovan Smith has been released.

The word comes from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

It had been expected Smith, drafted by the Bucs in 2015, was on the chopping block because the Bucs are in a salary cap pinch. Sage columnist reported Smith was gone three weeks ago.

Now the question is, do the Bucs gamble by moving arguably the best player in the league at his position, Tristan Wirfs, to left tackle and begin an experiment there?

Smith picked the worst time to have his worst season, a year before he entered a contract year.

A 2015 second-round pick by the Bucs, Smith was a rock during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run and arguably was a Pro Bowl-level stud in 2021. But he just didn’t have it last season, and it didn’t help that he injured his elbow on opening day and missed the first significant stretch of games in his eight-year career.

Smith made 131 starts in a Buccaneers uniform. He was a true ironman for the team and will be remembered for decades to come — from multiple perspectives.

The Bucs will save roughly $9 million in salary cap cash for cutting Smith, who surely will find a job this season.

72 Responses to “Donovan Smith Released”

  1. Duane Says:

    Anyone who doubts the need for a left tackle in either free agency, a trade, or the draft should consider this full confirmation.

  2. SteveK Says:

    Thank you, Donnie!

    You were great for the SB and a rock for a long time. Best of luck my man!

  3. Dan Says:

    Thanks for playing well during the Super Bowl run, now let’s draft a tackle day 1 or day 2 during the draft.

  4. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    He was a really good Buccaneer. Thanks, Donovan!

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    Now the only question is – does he have a post June 1 designation or not?

    If it is a post June 1 designation that will save the Bucs @ $15M off this years cap…

    If not then it is @ $10M cap savings.

  6. Winny Testaverde Says:

    There goes that 8th round pick we were hoping for via trade. A solid if not spectacular Buc career. He was leaking oil last season and was paid way more than he was worth at the end. He’ll probably catch on elsewhere…might even have a Donald Penn like 2nd wind in him-if motivated.

  7. SufferingSince76 Says:

    It would appear that the Bucs agree with the fans regarding Smith. They certainly didn’t release him because the fans wanted them to.

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  9. Coburn Says:

    Well he was inconsistent, but played well when it really counted and by all accounts I think a good teammate. Wish him well. Still never heard what he was struggling with personally, but hopefully he’s past that

  10. ElioT Says:

    The fact that they could not trade him (surely they tried) tells you all you need to know.

    I mean his contract wasn’t really that bad, but the value just doesn’t exceed the cost any more.

    Best of luck to Donny.

    Go Bucs!

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    So we had 26 free agents from last year’s 53 – now we have 29 free agents from last year’s team…

    I believe Tampa’s 53 man roster won’t be completed until after the final preseason cuts are made.

    I bet we will add @ 10 players after they are cut from other teams in late August.

    That’s what the Texans did last season and it worked perfectly. lol.

  12. D-Rok Says:

    Best of luck and thanks for your service, Mr. Smith. Hopefully your injuries heal and you can return to form with another team.

  13. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Thanks for the service Donavan. Hope you land with a contender.

  14. Arians4President Says:

    I like the Donald Penn comparison. Really good things can still happen for him on the field.

  15. Ed Says:

    Overall a good stint with the Bucs but not what they need anymore due to age and injury. Maybe if he goes to a club that uses him as a back up he’ll be able to prolong his career. I hope he finds a good fit and can play a couple of more years.

    The difference between the 2018-2020 Smith to the 2022 was a big drop off.

  16. Redeemer Says:

    What’s with all the bloviating? Guy was a turnstile and a penalty machine. This was an easy decision. He makes way too much money for his skill set. I say good riddance. When you can’t play LT for Tom Brad, it’s time to hang em up

  17. SB~LV Says:

    Flush .. next up !
    He was a good LT , he had a bad elbow all year and missing his RG and C

  18. Joe Blow Says:

    I’d hope they leave Wirfs at RT and draft someone early to compete with Goedeke at LT. Donavan was a good dude, but those penalties man…might have cost us a game to two honestly.

  19. DoooshLaRue Says:


  20. pewter941 Says:

    End of an Error

  21. sasquatch Says:

    Marine Buc Says:
    March 7th, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    Now the only question is – does he have a post June 1 designation or not?

    Well, they have to be under cap by the beginning of the league year, so a post June 1 designation would short-circuit that. We need all of that cap relief immediately.

  22. David Says:

    Jensen and Mason stay put, Hainsey and Levertt probably battle for left guard. Depending on what’s available and what they draft, I think there’s a good chance WIRFS moves to left tackle.
    I would prefer they did not do that because at right tackle he is an all pro. Left tackle is an unknown.
    But that’s what I think they will do

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Best of Luck to you Donavan. You played well for us for a long time. I’m sure if you still want to play, Some team will pick you up.

  24. Marine Buc Says:

    @ sasq

    Good point.

    The cap savings will be $9.950M…

  25. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    S Smith is not part of our future……..he one of many who will be cut or not resigned. So, we have Brady, Brate, Lenny, D Smith……

    Getting younger……getting cheaper…….that’s the plan.

    I really don’t know what the fan problem was with Smith….he was a very good LT. Always a pleasant personality with a positive outlook. Durable…….

    I wish him well.

  26. Voice of Truth Says:

    I’d take a little less raw talent and a lot more try hard and immediately upgrade at LT

    DSmith has been loafing since PSU

  27. ElioT Says:

    Donny never seemed to really love football, just a job to him.

  28. YucsBall Says:


  29. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Marine Buc Says
    “I believe Tampa’s 53 man roster won’t be completed until after the final preseason cuts are made.”

    That’s the case every year, lol.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Smith had been solid for most of his time here. Anyone saying different is full of it.

    Really, you can only say last year was bad for him, because he helped us win 13 games the year before. But that’s Tampa fans for you.

  31. D-Rome Says:

    Donovan Smith had a good career here capped by being Tom Brady’s left side protector during the Bucs Super Bowl run. I had no real issues with his play until last season. His lack of effort and focus was inexcusable.

    I’m sure he’ll land somewhere. He’s better than what Bucs fans give him credit for. He wasn’t the worst LT in the league like some people claim.

  32. Dooley Says:

    Man, best of luck Donnie, thanks for helping us make a successful title run and for crying out loud if we play you in the future hold anybody you want. Nah, seriously though thanks for being a mainstay for 8 years, while forcing the memories of Donald Penn & Anthony Collins outta my head.

  33. DaPostman Says:

    He was meh his first 5 years then when the Bucs drafted Wirfs he seemed to up his game. Maybe he thought that guy is my replacement? But alas after two pretty good years he resorted back to the player we always knew he was.


  34. BrianBucs Says:

    Smith was overdrafted by the Bucs out of PSU.
    He was rated and projected to be a 4th or early 5th round pick but Bucs took him in the 2nd round.
    Smith is an average run blocker at best and has always had trouble with speed rushers.
    I thank him for his service and hope the rest of his career goes well for him.
    Bucs can most definitely improve at the LT position

  35. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Bonzai

    “That’s the case every year, lol.”


    Yes I know buddy – what I am saying is the Bucs are going to be adding players off the waiver wire this year big time.

    I believe the Texans added like 12 players last year after the preseason cuts were made.

    The Bucs will be doing the same this year.

  36. SB~LV Says:

    His rap coming into the draft was inconsistent effort, we saw that at times.
    It is what it is now, he was a good LT for the Bucs and good is good enough.

  37. gotbbucs Says:

    Was making top 10 money and giving bottom 10 production last year. Alot of guys play hurt and don’t suck. Can’t have a liability at left tackle.

  38. Pewter Power Says:

    I think Ryan Ramczyk got like 90 something million for 5 years. Wirfs will get way more than that, might as well move him over to left tackle for that kind of cash.

  39. steele Says:

    Let the shuffling of deck chairs begin.

  40. Steven007 Says:

    Poor Doosh, now he has to either reduce his posting or grab onto another middling starter and complain about him. Maybe Lukewarm Luke? Handsy Hainsey? The possibilities are endless.

  41. J Says:

    I absolutely understand the importance of a LT, but this was the right move.

  42. unbelievable Says:

    Good teammate, durable up until last year, and played very very well in 2020 and 2021.

    But he was inconsistent for too much of his career, and too costly to bank on.

    But now we have yet another hole to fill… Maybe Wirfs goes to the left and they put Goedke on the right? I dunno… going to be an interesting season for sure.

  43. teacherman777 Says:

    A starting LT in the round for almost a decade?

    Great pick! And a solid dude!

    Donovan Smith is a good human!

    Unlike many fatass fans!

  44. firethecannons Says:

    Too many episodes of struggling to make it finally to the red zone then Donovan Smith puts somebody in a headlock and gets called for holding on a touchdown pass.

  45. Caleb lee Says:

    My only gripe with Smith was his knack for accruing penalty yards. I loved the Ali Marpet/Donnie Smith draft picks. We still won the Superbowl with him so, thank you big guy. Wish him well.

  46. SKBucsFan Says:

    Good luck Donny. You wont be unemployed for long.

    Now Licht can get a good LT in the first round. Someone that moves his feet jnstead of reaching back and grabbing the D man as he runs by.
    Most available at pick19 will need time to develop. But All are more athletic than DS ever was.

  47. Tucker Says:

    I’ve confirmed they are indeed moving tristen to left tackle

  48. Usedtocould Says:

    Uncle Donnie, thanks for the years

  49. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    Thanks Donnie…

    Nothing personal, just business…

  50. Craig Says:

    He was solid and very durable for years. He could play well on a good line, but wasn’t strong enough to cover more than his spot on it.

    When he tried to extend and help fellow linemen he got hurt, and he never learned to play hurt.

    Good luck Donnie.

  51. Robert Says:

    Thanks for being a rock on the O Line. The durability he showed was extremely impressive. No one can say that he didnt achieve his potential. What most wont realize is that he had a chance to be great, not good, but a great LT that would go down in history with Paul Gruber. Above average isnt great so he’ll always have his detractors. This season was hard to watch.

  52. Stanglassman Says:

    The most underrated Buc is n years. LT is not easy at the NFL level. He was arguably the 2nd best in Buccaneer’s history.

    Good luck with the rest of your career!

  53. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Donnie will go down with rod ‘toast’ jones, Billy ‘capece’ is kaput. Yes, Donnie ‘My hands hurt too much to hold’ smith is another in a long list of famous buc lore! Happy days.

  54. Capt.Tim Says:

    Thank you Donovan Smith.
    I hope you heal up, and go win another ring, for a team with smarter fans.

    Nobody cares who’s the best Right Tackle in Football.
    Left tackle is the important position. Thats the guy that faces the best pass rusher. Every single Week.

    How can anyone not know that?

  55. Architek Says:

    Had some high and lows. All in all he deserves some recognition for what he has accomplished in Tampa. Just time to move on!

  56. matthew veal Says:

    I never got the gripes about him. 2nd to Paul gruber imo

  57. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Tim yeah but you can’t be making top ten salary at your position and your backups are playing as good as you while having a horrific season not getting any younger.

    I’m not and never was his hater. It’s just time to move on.

  58. Frank Pillow Says:

    Cam Jordan won’t have Highway 76 to kick around anymore!

  59. Jack Clark Says:

    Thank you for your service Donovan Smith, you earned every single dollar you made here!!!! Best wishes to you and your family.

  60. Cover deuce Says:

    Oh wow so they didn’t trade him for a fourth rounder you say? I’m so shocked.

  61. Bucamania Says:

    Thanks for everything Donovan. It was time.

  62. Buccos Says:

    Thanks for being part of our Super Bowl. It was time to move on. Leading the league in penalties, poor technique and a lack of power are not a good combination for a LT

  63. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    the Bucs just need to acquire a left-handed quarterback, problem solved!

  64. Bickle Says:

    Donovan Smith was a great LT. Don’t know how good you got it til it’s gone.

  65. SOEbuc Says:

    What the hell is with all this praise for his history with the Bucs? Was him being close to the top in penalties every year a good relation to his consistency. He was garbage through the garbage years even when Ali was next to him the entire time. Hold, run around, run around all day. He literally cost us two games on late fourth quarter penalties this year. I hope all this love isn’t just because he has been stealing Bucs money for years like he’s a top tier LT, because he is far from it.

  66. SOEbuc Says:

    *hold, jump, run around all day

  67. SOEbuc Says:

    I do not see them moving Wirfs. Please don’t mess with an amazing thing.

  68. adam from ny Says:

    donnie was pretty darn good…

    if he wasn’t he would have been replaced so fast, having to protect a 45 year old immobile qb…

    if we didn’t have major cap issues and brady was still playing for the bucs, donnie would be in play for the 2023 season as a buc

  69. adam from ny Says:


  70. GMC hater Says:

    Man it’s going to be weird watching bucs games without refs constantly yelling “holding offense #76”

  71. Bucs56 Says:

    I am probably only one that hates this move. Was hoping they could restructure him. Smith had a bad year for maybe multiple reasons. But the one strength of this team going into next year was a returning healthy offensive line. Now you got a LT issue and hate going into a draft forced to use the 19th pick to address it. Don’t touch wirfs. Lt vs Rt emphasis doesn’t mean as much today with the rush packages.

  72. Ashor Daniel Says:

    Saints signing Carr, must be thinking Bucs are not gonna compete this year. Lamar has been franchise tagged. I would say lets aim to go after Lamar after next season.