10:00pm: Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network tweets that the meeting between Incognito and the Buccaneers has concluded. Both sides said the meeting went well, but nothing is imminent at this time. Darlington noted in an earlier tweet that, since Incognito has been cleared to resume football activities, it would not be surprising if other teams make a bid for his services.
2:24pm: Smith cautions not to get too excited about a simple visit, per Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). “I think we’re jumping the gun a little,” said Smith. “We look at everyone available. Nothing more than that.”
2:15pm: Incognito probably won’t sign a deal with Tampa Bay today, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who notes that Incognito’s visit is scheduled for later tonight, making it tough to get a contract in order before the day is through.
10:33am: The Buccaneers are visiting with free agent offensive guard Richie Incognito, and if all goes well, could sign him to a contract, tweets Jay Glazer of Fox Sports 1. Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network adds (via Twitter) than Incgonito has not been fully reinstated by the NFL as of yet. Indeed, Incognito could still be subject to a suspension in 2014, though Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that the union would likely fight any such ban.
Incognito, 31, was suspended indefinitely last year following his involvement in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal. Interest in Incognito has been scant, though he had told Josh Peter of USA Today that his agent had received “a few nibbles” from inquiring teams. When the subject of Incognito was raised several weeks ago, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith didn’t rule out bringing in the veteran guard.
Despite his off-the-field concerns, Incognito is certainly a talented player. Incognito has started 102 games over the course of his career, spending time at both guard spots (though he has played only left guard in recent seasons). Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required) only goes back to 2007, but the site’s advanced metrics have positively graded each of Incognito’s seasons. For most of his career, PFF’s statistics indicated that Incognito was a better run-blocker than pass-protector, but since 2012, those data points have flipped. Regardless, Incognito is unquestionably a top-30 guard, and topped out as the 16th-best guard in the league in 2010.
I posited Tampa Bay as a potential destination for Incognito in my free agent stock evaluation of him a few weeks ago, as the Bucs are thin up front after they agreed to part ways with veteran G Carl Nicks earlier this month. Currently, Tampa’s starters at guard are Oniel Cousins and Jamon Meredith, with Kadeem Edwards and Patrick Omameh acting as backups.