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NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Most Surprising Roster Cuts of 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5 Most Surprising Roster Cuts of 2014

Solomon Patton touchdown
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced a few difficult decisions in cutting their roster down to 53. As new head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht look to build the roster, there was bound to be more than a few changes made. With that in mind, here are the Buccaneers' five most surprising roster cuts of 2014.

5. Connor Barth, K

Connor Barth Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Connor Barth Buccaneers

Connor Barth Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers cut Barth on Saturday in favor of Patrick Murray. Barth, 28, was a model of consistency in his five seasons in Tampa, connecting on 84 percent of his field goals and never missing an extra point. Economics may have been a deciding factor. Barth was set to make $ 2 million in base salary, compared to just $ 420,000 for Murray. In the end, Tampa decided to go with the younger and much cheaper option in the 23-year-old Murray.

4. Jamon Meredith, T

Jamon Meredith Buccaneers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jamon Meredith, T

Jamon Meredith Buccaneers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The decision to release Meredith is only mildly surprising, due to the fact that he began the preseason as one of the starters at guard. After struggling, the team moved him back to his more natural position at tackle, but by then it was too little, too late for the sixth-year lineman.

3. Major Wright, S

Major Wright Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3. Major Wright, S

Major Wright Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wright was reunited with his former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith when he decided to sign with Tampa this past offseason. The fifth-year safety had the best season of his career under Smith with Chicago in 2012 and the Buccaneers were hoping he could regain some of that magic. However, Wright was limited by an injury the preseason and that opened the door for younger players to emerge.

2. Jeff Demps, RB

Jeff Demps Buccaneers
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jeff Demps, RB

Jeff Demps Buccaneers
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

A former U.S. Olympic sprinter, Demps has always been an intriguing prospect due to his tantalizing speed. However, he was never able to put his speed to use on the field this preseason. The fact that Demps does not offer much as a return man or as a receiver certainly did not help his chances either.

1. Solomon Patton, WR

Solomon Patton Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Solomon Patton, WR

Solomon Patton Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rough day for former Florida Gators in Tampa, as Patton joined Demps and Wright on the cut list. Patton was thought to be a shoo-in for the returner job after the release of Eric Page, but was still let go Saturday. Patton has already been signed to the Buccaneers' practice squad.

K.J. Momberg is the Jacksonville Jaguars writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @k_momberg or add him to your network on Google.