Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC South Notes: Bowers, Falcons, Saints

Despite having already had their bye week, the Buccaneers have given up more points than any other team in the NFL — in six contests, Tampa Bay has surrendered 204 points, good for an average of 34 per game. Today, the Bucs’ defense took another hit when the league announced that defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has been suspended two games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports).

The league’s new policy on PEDs calls for suspensions of up to six games for first-time violations, but the use of a diuretic or masking agent results in just a two-game ban. And Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms (via Twitter) that Bowers’ failed test came as the result of a diuretic, which explains the relatively modest penalty.

Let’s check in on the Bucs’ rivals, and round up the news from elsewhere in the NFC South…

  • Following the season-ending injury suffered by center Peter Konz, the Falcons signed offensive lineman Jonathan Scott, but the team also auditioned fellow lineman Thomas Austin, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The Saints just got Mark Ingram back this past week, but now they’ll be without another running back, according to Rapoport, who tweets that Pierre Thomas is expected to miss two or three weeks with a shoulder injury.
  • Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell worked out today for the Panthers, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link).

Bucs Sign Trindon Holliday

3:24pm: In addition to confirming the moves noted below, the Buccaneers also announced that they’ve waived defensive end Scott Solomon from the active roster, promoting defensive end T.J. Fatinikun from the practice squad to take his place. Additionally, the club cut linebacker Shayne Skov from the practice squad, using the two new openings on linebacker Mister Alexander and wideout Marcus Thigpen.

TUESDAY, 10:11am: As anticipated, the Bucs are cutting wideout and kick returner Solomon Patton to make room for Holliday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

MONDAY, 9:02pm: The Buccaneers have agreed to sign wide receiver Trindon Holliday, according to Rick Stroud of WDAE (on Twitter). The team could announce the signing as early as tomorrow.

Holliday, 28, was placed on IR with a hamstring injury by the Giants in late August and released earlier this month. Since then, the Bears and the Colts auditioned him, but he’ll be joining the Bucs instead. Of course, Holliday is known mostly for his work as a kick returner. In 2012 and 2013, Holliday returned 81 punts for 752 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, he averaged a healthy 27.1 yards per kick return in those seasons and also took two of those all the way to the house.

As a member of the Broncos in the 2012 postseason, Holliday became the first player to return a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same playoff game. The addition of Holliday is probably bad news for former Florida UDFA Solomon Patton, Stroud tweets.

South Notes: Bucs, Jackson, Titans, Wayne

Even at 1-5, the Buccaneers are still right in the thick of it, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Panthers (3-3), Saints (2-4), and the Falcons (2-5) all lost on Sunday, meaning that Tampa Bay is just two wins out of first place in the NFC South. “I watched all the games this week,” coach Lovie Smith said. “I know what happened in our division. I realize how many games we’re out of first place. We’re in it as much as anyone with our record. That’s what we’re focused on. There’s life when you take a little time off to not play a game and you end up in better position than when we started Sunday … we’re excited about that.” More from the South divisions..

  • When asked about reports that teams are interested in trading for Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Smith insisted that Tampa Bay doesn’t have him on the block. “We’re not trying to shop any of our players,” Smith said, according to Rick Stroud of WDAE (on Twitter).
  • The Titans‘ 2014 free agent acquisitions haven’t been contributing all that much, writes Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. In their most recent outing against the Redskins, outside linebacker Shaun Phillips played just 44% of the defensive snaps while supposed X factor Dexter McCluster saw just six snaps on offense.
  • Reggie Wayne‘s elbow injury probably won’t force the Colts to go shopping for a wide receiver. Mike Chappell of the Indy Star (on Twitter) hears that Wayne’s injury isn’t too serious and he should only miss a game or two. He’ll have extra time to heal up as well with the club’s Week 10 bye still ahead.

NFC Notes: Bears, Bucs, Lions, Kuechly

We’re witnessing a good afternoon game in the NFC, as the Giants and Cowboys are tied 14-14 early in the third quarter. Let’s take a look at some notes from around the NFC:

  • Unhappy with his team’s effort today against the Dolphins, Brandon Marshall called out several of his Bears teammates in the locker room following the contest, a source tells Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com. Quarterback Jay Cutler and kicker Robbie Gould were reportedly the targets of Marshall’s criticism. “We lost, there should be a lot of frustration,” Marshall told reporters. “You should hear frustration. We’re 3-4. Yeah, this means everything to a lot of guys in this locker room. This means a lot.”
  • The Buccaneers were among the most active teams during free agency, but as of yet, the team hasn’t gotten much production from its investments, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa brought in Michael Johnson, Josh McCown, and Anthony Collins, among others, and the poor performance of those acquisitions have contributed to the team’s 1-5 record.
  • Second-year linebacker Jonathan Bostic might be auditioning to take over the weak side for the Bears in 2015, according to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Bostic has mostly played in the middle and on the strong side, but with Lance Briggs‘ contract expiring after this season, Bostic might be a better fit at the “Will” spot. For his part, Briggs is still out of action with a rib injury.
  • Sunday’s win over Saints was a personal victory for Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, opines Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News (Twitter link). Mayhew’s top two free agent acquisitions over the past two offseasons, Glover Quin and Golden Tate, each had a big impact against New Orleans. Quin registered five tackles and an interception, while Tate caught 10 balls for 154 yards and one touchdown.
  • Luke Kuechly was ejected from the Panthers‘ game against the Packers for making contact with an official, and although he’s likely to be fined, he won’t be suspended, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Trade Rumors: Thomas, V-Jax, Spiller

As we already pointed out earlier today, the Seahawks, who are in need of a tight end, reportedly asked for Browns TE Jordan Cameron in a potential Percy Harvin deal before ultimately sending Harvin to the Jets. As it turns out, Seattle aimed even higher by asking the Broncos for emerging star Julius Thomas, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Although Denver promptly rebuffed the Seahawks’ proposal, Joel Corry tweets that these tight end inquiries are not good news for Zach Miller‘s long-term prospects in Seattle. This is despite the fact that Miller has already cut $3MM and $2MM from his 2014 and 2015 salaries, respectively.

Let’s take a look at some other trade notes from around the league. Remember, the trade deadline is October 28:

  • Citing his colleague Ian Rapoport, Kevin Patra of NFL.com writes that two other big-name players who are generating significant trade interest are Buccaneers‘ WR Vincent Jackson and Bills‘ RB C.J. Spiller. Rapoport says Tampa Bay is receiving a “ton of calls” on Jackson and would be open to anything. The Cowboys, meanwhile, were interested in Spiller last season, and given that Buffalo has been unable to effectively utilize his skill-set–in addition to the fact that he is in his contract year–Spiller could be on his way out of Buffalo within the week.
  • Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 tweets that, unless Spiller accepts a “fair offer” from the Bills in the offseason, Buffalo will not re-sign him. That explains why trade talks surrounding Spiller may intensify.
  • Noting that the Patriots are “usually active” at the trade deadline, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that New England is targeting help on the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker.
  • We learned earlier that the Bengals may deal Jermaine Gresham if the price is right.

More Harvin Notes: Cameron, Ryan, Wilson

More and more interesting storylines continue to arise from the Percy Harvin trade, including a big name player that could have been shipped off to Seattle in return for the explosive wideout. Let’s have a look:

  • We heard several days ago that the Browns, Buccaneers, and Bengals were most interested in a Harvin deal, but the Colts and Broncos were apparently also interested, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Per Rapoport, the Jets, Browns, Bucs, Broncos, and Colts had the best offers.
  • The Seahawks are on the lookout for tight ends, and one of the names that was floated in a possible Harvin deal was Browns TE Jordan Cameron, tweets Rapoport.
  • As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reiterates, the Harvin deal could end up being a very short-term move for the Jets. Since Harvin’s base salary for 2015 is $10MM, the Jets may choose to cut or trade him in the offseason. That decision, Florio writes, will “hinge on whether [head coach Rex] Ryan remains as the coach, whether a new coach would want Harvin, and whether Harvin will accept less than $10 million next year to stay with the Jets.”
  • Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that Harvin’s poor fit in the Seahawks‘ locker room serves as a reminder as to why “some teams shy away from investing big in players until they’ve spent time with them through the draft-and-develop process.”
  • Dave Boling of the News Tribune wonders if the Seahawks have sent a message to the rest of the team by dealing Harvin.
  • Rapoport adds (via Twitter) that the deal heated up Friday morning, after the Jets‘ loss to the Patriots.
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes that the Jets dealt for Harvin to help Geno Smith, not Rex Ryan.
  • Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes that the Vikings have once again been vindicated for the original deal that sent Harvin to Seattle.
  • In a pair of articles, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that although many Seahawks players like Harvin, his poor relationship with Russell Wilson threatened to divide the locker room, and La Canfora also wonders if this deal will signal Jets‘ owner Woody Johnson‘s return to his high-spending ways.

Percy Harvin Notes: Buccaneers, Bengals, Browns

The Jets were not the only team reached out to by the Seahawks about Percy Harvin‘s availability leading up to this weekend’s trade. The Buccaneers, Browns, and Bengals were all contacted about the possibility of a deal, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). All three of those teams have various levels of need at the position, but what they do have in common is a chunk of cap space that Harvin could have fit into.

Here are some other notes concerning the Harvin trade:

  • Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan might be a player’s coach, but Harvin’s reputation will be tough to shake in a new city. He has had problems at every stop in his career, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk questions whether his tenure with the Jets will be any different. He surmises that the thinking in league circles is that the team will not bring him back at $10MM in 2015.
  • As record of Harvin’s many transgressions keeps growing, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com has compiled a list of some of his most egregious missteps.
  • Although Harvin may have been a problem in the locker room, there are still a section of players who are not happy to see him go. Marshawn Lynch is one of those players, writes Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, and his unhappiness might cause more problems in the locker room. Lynch reportedly almost did not get on the team bus after learning about the trade, reports Mehta (via Twitter).

NFC Notes: Antone Smith, Gore, Bucs

No running back in the NFL is scoring long touchdowns more frequently this season than Antone Smith of the Falcons, and team owner Arthur Blank has taken notice, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

“It’s incredible to see his performance,” Blank said. “And it’s actually really interesting because I really hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it, but he’s been to several other clubs in the NFL. You really wonder what it is in a player’s career that at a certain point in time, they blossom and they just trigger and go. And he’s obviously doing that now.”

While Smith has had several stops throughout his NFL career, Blank is hoping that the veteran running back won’t be moving onto a new team next season. Asked if he’d like to see Smith wearing a Falcons uniform beyond this season, the owner replied, “Absolutely. I have no reason to not want that, for sure.”

Here are a few more Thursday items from out of the NFC:

  • Responding to a report that suggested the 49ers informed him this past offseason that his roster spot was in jeopardy, running back Frank Gore said that didn’t happen, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. Still, Gore isn’t sure if the Niners will try to re-sign him after the season, though he hopes to continue playing in San Francisco.
  • Buccaneers director of player development Isaiah Harris was arrested this morning on a misdemeanor DUI, and the team didn’t waste much time in letting him go. In a statement explaining the decision, Bucs GM Jason Licht indicated that “this type of incident, particularly for someone whose primary responsibilities are to mentor and develop our players off the field, cannot be tolerated.”
  • While defensive coordinator Dan Quinn‘s name comes up in any discussion about potential head coaching candidates, the Seahawks‘ coordinator on the other side of the ball, Darrell Bevell, have faced criticism for the offense’s recent performance. As Terry Blount of ESPN.com details, Bevell responded to his critics this week, acknowledging that he needs to find a way to get the ball to Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin more often.

South Notes: Gruden, Titans, Saints, Bucs

Before Jay Gruden signed on to coach the Redskins, he had a very positive interview with the Titans, writes Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “It was a good visit,” Gruden said. “I was very interested in the job, but Washington called me I guess the night after the interview and had me fly up here and they offered me the job right away.” Gruden says he was never offered the Tennessee job and soon after, the Titans hired Ken Whisenhunt as their head coach.

Here’s more from out of the league’s two South divisions:

  • Titans tight end Craig Stevens underwent surgery today to repair a torn quadriceps tendon, and will be sidelined for the season, writes Terry McCormick of 247Sports.com.
  • The Saints‘ reasons for releasing fourth-round linebacker Khairi Fortt were never made entirely clear, and head coach Sean Payton declined to elaborate today on the team’s thinking, indicating that the move was in the club’s best interest, tweets Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Fortt was claimed off waivers by the Bengals and has since been cut by Cincinnati as well.
  • The Buccaneers, who signed corner Isaiah Frey earlier today, are clearly toying with their nickel back spot, tweets Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune. Keith Tandy worked in that role last week and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has said that the team needs better play out of that position.
  • The Buccaneers likely re-signed Lonnie Pryor to their practice squad in anticipation of Jorvorskie Lane‘s suspension, Cummings tweets.
  • Bears cornerback Charles Tillman told Robert Klemko of The MMQB that he “maybe” has two years left in the tank. Tillman also says that divine intervention led him to sign with Chicago this offseason rather than join Lovie Smith with the Buccaneers.
  • In an investigative piece for ESPN The Magazine, Shaun Assael takes a look at the addiction issues battled by Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Bucs Sign Isaiah Frey

The Buccaneers announced that they have signed cornerback Isaiah Frey to the 53-man roster. A spot on the roster became available today when fullback Jorvorskie Lane was handed a two-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.

Frey was drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, Lovie Smith‘s final year as head coach in Chicago. In 2013, he played nickel back for the Bears, appearing in all 16 games and making six starts. In that time, he racked up 47 tackles, a pass deflecton, and two quarterback hits.

As for Lane, his suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to Tampa Bay’s active roster on Monday, November 3rd following the team’s November 2 game against the Browns.