Bucs release former second-rounder M.J. Stewart after 2 seasons

Jason Licht's remaking of the Tampa Bay secondary has fallen at least one piece short.

The Buccaneers have released cornerback M.J. Stewart, the team announced Thursday.

A second-round pick out of North Carolina in 2018, Stewart was selected along with Carlton Davis in what Licht's front office envisioned as its secondary of the future. Stewart failed to latch on, though, as Davis outperformed him in their first two seasons and Central Michigan product Sean Murphy-Bunting bumped Stewart out of the starting position opposite Davis.

Stewart improved slightly in pass coverage in Year 2, according to his Pro Football Focus position grades, but evidently it wasn't enough to convince Tampa Bay to keep him around.

Tampa Bay also activated running back Aca'Cedric Ware from the reserve/COVID-19 list, releasing Ware and Stewart in subsequent moves. Tackle Brad Seaton also opted out of the 2020 season.

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