WR Sterling Shepard Addresses Bucs Deal

Sterling Shepard will not be with the Giants in 2024, but he will attempt to continue his career with the Buccaneers. The veteran wideout agreed to a Tampa Bay deal on Thursday which came together in relatively short order.

While in conversation with veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson, Shepard explained that quarterback Baker Mayfield reached out earlier this week to see if he was prepared to play another season in the NFL. The two were teammates at Oklahoma, and a reunion was one of the scenarios Shepard was willing to consider in the event he committed to suiting up for the 2024 campaign.

The 31-year-old noted that he “turned done other opportunities” before a potential Bucs deal came on his radar. Mayfield informed Shepard that his name was being floated by Tampa Bay with respect to interest, which paved the way for the latter’s agent to reach out. A tryout was arranged, and Shepard’s performance earned him a contract and the opportunity to carve out a role on Tampa’s receiver depth chart.

Mike Evans – who signed a two-year deal including $29MM fully guaranteed this offseason – remains the Buccaneers’ top option in the passing game. Fellow Pro Bowler Chris Godwin is under contract for one more year, although his future is less certain at the moment. Tampa Bay also has a pair of recent draft investments (2023 sixth-rounder Trey Palmer and 2024 third-rounder Jalen McMillan) set to play a role on offense this year.

Shepard will look to earn playing time as part of that group. The former second-rounder had a consistent New York tenure from 2016-20, but injuries limited him to 10 games across the next two campaigns. Last season, he occupied a minor role on a Giants team transitioning to younger options at the receiver spot. Shepard will now have an unexpected opportunity to re-build his value to an extent while playing with Mayfield for the first time since 2015.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Shepard said (via Jared and Paul Schwartz of the New York Post).“I can’t say I wanted to experience that, I always wanted to be a Giant but I’m not mad at it, man. It’s a really good situation, they have a really good football team, really talented football team and I get to be reunited with my boy and get to play with him a little bit. I’m excited about it.”

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