Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Sign Ronald Talley

The Buccaneers auditioned six players at their minicamp earlier this week, and at least one of those players has earned a contract with the club. According to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com, the Bucs have signed free agent defensive end Ronald Talley. In related roster moves, the team also cut wide receiver Aaron Burks and defensive tackle Everett Dawkins.

Talley, 28, spent his first three NFL seasons with the Cardinals as a reserve defensive lineman. In those three years, the Detroit native was never more than a very occasional contributor, logging between 44 and 75 snaps on defense in each of his seasons with the club. Arizona elected not to submit an RFA tender to Talley in March, so the 28-year-old became an unrestricted free agent, paying a visit to the Titans in April before reaching an agreement with Tampa Bay.

As for the players who were cut, Dawkins finished last season with the Bucs, while Burks received a $5K signing bonus as an undrafted free agent last month. The moves leave Tampa Bay with one open roster spot on its 90-man roster, so the club could still add one more player from the group that auditioned this week, or bring in someone else.

Minor Moves: Burton, Ogbuehi, Sims, Giants

Tonight’s minor moves..

  • The Colts claimed defensive back Brandon Burton and the Browns claimed tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). Burton, 24, was taken by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and has since inked deals with the Bills and Bengals. Ogbuehi was waived by the Dolphins this week to make room for wide receiver Gerald Ford, who is not to be confused with former president Gerald Ford.
  • The Buccaneers tweeted that rookie running back Charles Sims has officially signed his contract with the club. The third-round pick spent four years at Houston before playing for West Virginia in 2013 and was named co-Big 12 newcomer of the year by rushing for 1,095 yards and eleven touchdowns.
  • The Giants cut Kris Adams with a failed physical designation, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Adams was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011 by the Bears and has also been a member of the Rams, Vikings, and Colts.
  • The Vikings waived-injured former FAU wide receiver Lestar Jean, Wilson tweets.
  • The Colts cut former Ohio State guard Marcus Hall, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Cowboys placed former NAIA cornerback Jocquel Skinner on injured reserve after he cleared waivers after being waived-injured, Wilson tweets.

Buccaneers Sign Mike Evans

Another first-round pick has signed his rookie contract, according to the Buccaneers, who announced today that they’ve locked up Mike Evans to a four-year deal, with a fifth-year team option for the 2018 season (Twitter link via Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com). By our count, Evans is the 21st of 32 first-rounders to officially ink his deal.

The seventh overall pick, Evans was the second receiver off the board last month, after No. 4 pick Sammy Watkins. The former Aggie was a consensus All-American in 2013 at Texas A&M after racking up 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 20-year-old was also the first of six offensive players selected by Tampa Bay in a draft class that didn’t include a single defender. So far, the Bucs have secured four of those players, with only tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Charles Sims still unsigned.

Per Jason Fitzgerald’s numbers at OverTheCap.com, Evans’ four-year contract should have an overall value of about $14.632MM, with a signing bonus worth in the neighborhood of $8.96MM.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Newton, Bucs

Falcons coach Mike Smith is sad to have lost Sean Weatherspoon for the year, but he believes that the club’s additions through free agency and the draft have left them better equipped to deal with filling the void, writes Charles Odum of the Associated Press. Notre Dame’s Prince Shembo, a fourth-round pick, and Syracuse’s Marquis Spruill, a fifth-rounder, will both have increased opportunities in the wake of Weatherspoon’s Achilles tear. Smith also said additions to the defensive line also should give the linebackers better protection to make plays. They signed defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai in free agency and drafted defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman in the second round. Here’s more out of the NFC South..

  • A report last night indicated that Cam Newton‘s camp is afraid that Colin Kaepernick‘s new deal with the 49ers will set a tone for forthcoming contract negotiations with the Panthers QB. If that’s the case, Newton isn’t copping to it. “I’m not terrified of anything,” Newton said, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. “For me, that’s the last thing on my mind. The first thing is trying to get little anky right. I’m not worried about no money. I’m not worried about things I can’t control.”
  • Ultimately, Newton’s best tactic for avoiding a similar structure to Kaepernick could be declining to talk about a contract until after the 2014 season or later with the Panthers, opines Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Newton isn’t hurting for money right now, but he can bet on himself over the next two years, forcing Carolina into a difficult spot come 2016, when they’ll have to decide whether to use the non-exclusive franchise tag and risk losing him to another team.
  • The Buccaneers new and improved depth at cornerback this offseason is already evident, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “Every day it seems we talk about one of the corners,” coach Lovie Smith said. “You see the way we practice. Guys are stripping the ball right up until the end. It’s about taking the ball away. To a man, they’ll talk to you about that. As the head football coach of our defense, that’s a great job to finish a game off like that.”
  • Saints camp invite Charles Hawkins, a wide receiver with speed, is willing to do whatever it takes to make the roster, writes Andrew Lopez of The Times-Picayune.

Cardinals Talked To Bucs About Mike Glennon

The Cardinals were one of the teams that talked to the Buccaneers before this year’s draft about the possibility of a Mike Glennon trade, Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht confirmed in a conversation with Fox Sports 910 Phoenix (audio link). Licht described talks with his friend and mentor Steve Keim as “casual,” joking that he wouldn’t let the Cardinals GM “bully” him into making a deal. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Arizona was one of a handful of teams with some interest in Glennon, which Licht confirmed.

“We had several teams that were investigating what our thoughts were and asking what our plan was for Mike,” Licht said. “And the plan was that we’re going to keep Mike.”

Several trade rumors swirled around Glennon prior to the draft, particularly after the Bucs signed Josh McCown and were linked to some of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. However, head coach Lovie Smith indicated last month that the club views Glennon as its quarterback of the future, and Licht made similar comments a couple weeks later.

With McCown in the mix, Glennon figures to enter the season as the Bucs’ No. 2 quarterback, but he could push the former Bear for the starting job in camp. During his rookie season, Glennon performed well for Tampa Bay, starting 13 games and racking up 2,608 passing yards to go along with 19 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

NFC South Notes: Weatherspoon, Newton, Bucs

A quick look at the NFC South..

  • Poor Sean Weatherspoon. The Falcons linebacker has missed 12 games over the past two years and today he learned that he’ll miss 16 more in 2014. The team announced today that Weatherspoon ruptured his Achilles tendon and will have to miss all of the 2014 season. “During Sean’s run today with our medical staff, he suffered an injury,” head coach Mike Smith said. “We sent Sean to the doctor for some additional testing and evaluation and unfortunately the results showed that he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Sean had been working extremely hard to get back on the field, but regrettably he will miss the entire 2014 season. He will have a procedure done in the near future and we expect him to make a full recovery.”
  • Talks between Cam Newton and the Panthers on a deal still have yet to get underway, but there’s a fear that teams will look to impose the Colin Kaepernick structure moving forward, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. However, a deal for Newton may be for a higher average annual value and, as one source told Rapoport (link), guaranteed money is what really matters.
  • Buccaneers rookie Kadeem Edwards is looking to make an immediate impact, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. The guard was taken in the fifth round out of I-AA Tennessee State.

Bucs Auditioning David Gettis, Five Others

Six non-roster players are auditioning for the Buccaneers this week at the team’s minicamp, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). Wide receiver David Gettis and defensive tackle Ronald Talley are perhaps the most notable names among a group of players that also includes safety Tony Dye, cornerback Kip Edwards, linebacker T.J. Fatinikun, and punter Kirby Van Der Kamp.

Gettis, 26, had a productive rookie season for the Panthers in 2010, hauling in 37 passes for 508 receiving yards and three touchdowns. However, injuries have derailed his career in recent years. The Baylor product had a solid preseason in 2013, but a hamstring injury prompted Carolina to waive him before the regular season began. If he’s healthy, Gettis would seem to be the most likely player among the six to sign a contract with Tampa Bay.

Among the other recognizable names is Talley, who spent the last three seasons with the Cardinals as a reserve defensive lineman. Arizona elected not to submit an RFA tender to Talley in March, so the 28-year-old became an unrestricted free agent and paid a visit to the Titans in April.

NFC Notes: Jones, Rams, Cowboys, Nicks

In a video interview with SI.com, Falcons receiver Julio Jones said he expects to sign a long-term contract extension before his rookie deal runs out. “I will not get to free agency,” said Jones. “They gave up a lot for me and they know how hard I work. They’re not going to let me go. And I love Atlanta, I love being here.” Jones also says teammate Roddy White, a free agent next year, wants to be in Atlanta three more years.

Here’s a few more NFC notes:

  • The Rams boast the league’s best front seven, while the Cowboys’ is the worst, according to Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth. On the Rams’ burgeoning front four (excluding first-round pick Aaron Donald), in particular, Tanier says, “Think of the Rams defensive line as starting each game with four three-and-outs that leave the opponent punting from about the 22-yard line, and you get a sense of their impact.”
  • Meanwhile, “The Cowboys lost DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and (in the saddest, most ridiculous minicamp story of the year) Sean Lee from a defense that allowed 2,056 rushing yards and recorded just 36 sacks last year,” writes Tanier.Henry Melton arrives as a younger, more system-suited replacement for Hatcher, but everything else is a shambles. Bruce Carter, Justin Durant and DeVonte Holloman form the most anonymous linebacker corps in the league…And of course, the Cowboys are so cap-stressed that they wouldn’t be able to sign a veteran reinforcement, even if one becomes available this late in the offseason.”
  • Buccaneers veteran guard Carl Nicks‘ health status remains a question mark, writes ESPN’s Pat Yasinkas: “Nicks, who missed almost all of last season with a toe injury and a MRSA infection, previously has said he expects to be ready for training camp. But it remains to be seen if he still is on target. The team has been quiet about Nicks’ status.”
  • Seahawks pass rusher Bruce Irvin (hip) and running back Robert Turbin (knee) had off-season surgery, reports Bob Condotta in the Seattle Times.
  • The 49ers have approximately $6.4MM in cap space, probably enough to “extend a vet and have an emergency stash for the season,” according to ESPN’s Bill Williamson (via Twitter).

Seven Teams Holding Mandatory Minicamps This Week

According to Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk, the Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Lions, Saints, and Buccaneers will hold their mandatory minicamps this week.

These mandatory minicamps are heavily regulated by the NFL’s CBA. Per the CBA, players undergo physical exams on Monday. The teams may then hold a mandatory veteran minicamp with three days of practice on Tuesday through Thursday. Although pads and contact drills are prohibited for these mini camps, players can wear helmets. Players may be on the field for a total of no more than 3.5 hours per day. No organized team activities, which include medical treatment and taping, may begin prior to 7:00am local time or end after 8:30pm local times, with one hour provided for both lunch and dinner.

Mandatory minicamps are not to be confused with voluntary minicamps, which are allowed to occur prior to the draft only in the event that a team has hired a new head coach that offseason.

 

NFC Notes: Orakpo, Hosley, Packers, Ponder

Although he refuses to hold out, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo still hopes to get a multiyear contract worked out with the team this summer, as Jason Reid of the Washington Post writes. The two sides have discussed the parameters of a deal, but Orakpo deferred to GM Bruce Allen when asked if there had been progress toward an agreement.

“You’ve got to ask Bruce about that,” Orakpo said. “You’ve got to ask them boys (senior Redskins management) about that. Money talks.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The suspensions just keep on coming for the Giants, who announced today that cornerback Jayron Hosley will miss the first four games of the season due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. News of Hosley’s suspension comes on the heels of a six-game ban for safety Will Hill, who was subsequently waived by the club. As Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets, assuming he doesn’t meet the same fate as Hill and find himself looking for a new team, Hosley’s four-game suspension will cost him about $134K of his $570K salary.
  • Lori Nickel and Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explore whether Packers receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are both in line for new contract extensions.
  • Addressing for the first time the Vikings‘ decision not to exercise his fifth-year option, Christian Ponder said he wasn’t surprised at all by the decision, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press details. It gives me an opportunity,” Ponder said of not having a contract beyond 2014. “It has my options open after the season whether I have leverage to stay here or go somewhere else, whether there’s a better place for me to play.”
  • Vernon Davis, who is reportedly seeking a new contract, tells Maggie Gray on SI Now that he’s keeping a close eye on Jimmy Graham‘s positional grievance, even though Davis considers himself a tight end and not a receiver. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has the quotes from the 49ers tight end.
  • New Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford isn’t saying much about what his plan will be for this upcoming season, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. One thing Tedford did tip, however, is that he’s a fan of a running back by committee approach.
  • Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post passes along Reed Doughty‘s Instagram farewell message to the Redskins and their fans, suggesting the unrestricted free agent won’t be re-signing with the team.

Zach Links contributed to this post.