TAMPA - One of the last remaining members of the Bucs Super Bowl championship team and a key member of last year's NFC South championship club were let go Wednesday in a shakeup of the team's defensive line.
Left ends Greg Spires, a six-year starter who recorded three tackles and a sack during Super Bowl XXXVII, and Kevin Carter were released in a continuation of the defensive youth movement started last season.
Finances also likely played a part in the moves. Though the Bucs are more than $30 million under the salary cap, Spires and Carter each were slated to make more than $3.8 million in 2008.
The Bucs no doubt deemed that rather pricey for a pair of players who combined for 69 tackles (43 by Carter), five sacks (three by Carter) and would be 34 and 35, respectively, next season.
Also playing into the move was the emergence late last season of rookie defensive end Gaines Adams and Arena League refugee Greg White.
Adams, who wound up splitting his time between right and left end, and White, who played primarily on the right side, combined for 14 sacks, including a team-best eight by White.
The moves don't necessarily mean Spires and Carter have played their last games for the Bucs. The team already has expressed an interest in re-signing Carter, and he has expressed an interest in re-signing with the Bucs. It seems Spires may be done, though.
"They didn't give us any indication he'd be back," said David Levine, Spires' agent.