Josh Wells

Buccaneers Place RB Giovani Bernard, OL Josh Wells On IR

After injuries to veterans Giovani Bernard and Josh Wells, the Buccaneers are making roster adjustments. Both players landed on injured reserve Wednesday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

Ankle and calf injuries, respectively, will sideline Bernard and Wells for at least four weeks. Wells’ ailment is not believed to be season-ending, per ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine (on Twitter), but the backup tackle will be shut down for a while.

[RELATED: Bucs Add Cole Beasley To Practice Squad]

Wells started in place of injured left tackle Donovan Smith in Week 2, but the ninth-year veteran went down during the Bucs’ win over the Saints. Following Wells’ exit, the Bucs turned to third-year UDFA Brandon Walton, who had spent last season on the team’s practice squad. A Florida Atlantic alum, Walton has only dressed for two NFL games. Sunday marked his first regular-season snaps on offense.

Wells joins center Ryan Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie on IR. Smith, who missed Week 2 with an elbow injury, remains on the team’s active roster. Smith being unable to go in Week 3 against the Packers would mark yet another new starter for a Bucs offensive line that continues to absorb injury blows. Wells, 31, has been with the Bucs as a backup O-lineman since 2019.

Although the Bucs re-signed Bernard this offseason, the veteran running back has not been used on offense through two games. Leonard Fournette and rookie Rachaad White have played in front of Bernard, whom the Bucs signed as a possible passing-down option last year. Bernard caught 23 passes for just 123 yards last season. At 30, the former Bengals running back has seen time on special teams in his second Bucs slate.

Tampa Bay promoted linebacker Kenny Young and wide receiver Kaylon Geiger to its 53-man roster to replace Bernard and Wells, Stroud adds (via Twitter). The team also added offensive lineman Justin Skule to its practice squad. Skule spent the past three years with the 49ers. While he missed the 2021 season with an ACL tear, Skule started 12 games between the 2019 and ’20 seasons. The Vanderbilt product served as Joe Staley‘s primary replacement during the latter’s 2019 finale.

Bucs Re-Sign T Josh Wells

Swing-tackle Josh Wells will sign his fourth-consecutive one-year deal with the Buccaneers, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. Auman adds that the deal is worth $1.12MM, with $895,000 guaranteed.

Wells has served as a key backup lineman in his three seasons in Tampa Bay. He participated in the team’s 2020 Super Bowl run, starting one game and playing in 15, not including his appearances in all four playoff games. Wells, 31, has operated in this capacity for most of his career. The former UDFA has topped out at five starts two times, doing so with the Jaguars in 2018 and for the Buccaneers last year. Wells has earned eight total starts and appeared in 45 games over his first three seasons in Tampa.

With Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs returning to bookend the Bucs’ offensive line, Wells is a depth signing that secures Tampa’s first man off the bench should anything happen with Smith and Wirfs. He also provides a familiar face as the team seeks to replace both guard spots. Alex Cappa departed in free agency to sign with the Bengals and Ali Marpet retired at the ripe old age of 28. Tampa brought in former Bengal Fred Johnson and acquired Shaq Mason in a trade with the Patriots in an attempt to fill those spots, but retaining Wells gives them some room for error as they attempt to replace the production from last year.

Wells joins returning starting center Ryan Jensen as the Buccaneers are trying to put together another Super Bowl squad for Tom Brady. He is sure to continue playing a key role as the offensive line’s sixth man with a chance to earn a starting spot protecting the NFL’s oldest active player.

Injury Updates For 49ers, Buccaneers

While the Buccaneers and 49ers both won on Sunday, they each suffered major injuries in the process. For the 49ers, defensive stars Nick Bosa and Fred Warner both exited the game early; for the Bucs meanwhile, offensive linemen Tristan WirfsRyan Jensen and Josh Wells are all banged up. 

According to Eric Brach of the San Francisco Chronicle, the status for both Bosa and Warner are “up in the air”. Bosa had to leave the game with a concussion suffered in the second quarter, while Warner exited due to an ankle injury in the fourth. In the latter’s case, there is some reason for optimism, though. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Warner’s injury is “similar to what he did earlier in the year”, referring to another ankle injury sustained in Week 12 against the Vikings, which resulted in his only missed game of the season. Shanahan added, “I think he’s got a chance” to play on Saturday against the Packers. In his first regular season since signing a record-breaking extension, Warner totalled 137 tackles, four pass deflections and a forced fumble, adding five stops against the Cowboys. The 25-year-old tweeted an encouraging update, saying, “sorry for the scare yesterday everyone… we’ll be good to go”.

For Bosa, on the other hand, a return to the field would be less likely. After colliding with teammate D.J. Jones, his head snapped back, and caused him to lay on the field for a matter of minutes. He was initially taken to the medial tent, but spent the remainder of the first half in the locker room and remained there past the beginning of the third quarter. The fact that the 49ers are on a short week doesn’t help his chances of clearing the league’s concussion protocol. In less than one half of action against Dallas, the two-time Pro Bowler recorded three tackles and a half-sack, after totalling 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 17 regular season games. His absence against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense would be massive.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will likely have to wait most of the week to see how healthy their offensive line will be. Head coach Bruce Arians stated that Wirfs, the team’s All-Pro right tackle, suffered a sprained ankle and will be in a walking boot throughout the week, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Arians said “there’s a chance” Wirfs will be able to play, but that Laine adds “it will likely come down to the wire”. If the 2020 13th overall pick were to miss the Bucs’ next game, it would be the first of his young career. As for Jensen, the Pro Bowl center, an ankle sprain didn’t cause him to miss any snaps in the game, but Arians said he “will probably go all the way until Friday before we know anything true”. Jensen hasn’t missed a game in his four years in Tampa Bay.

Lastly, Wells, who took over for Wirfs at right tackle, suffered a quad injury. Like the others, Arians admitted the team will “have to wait and see” if he’ll be available on Sunday. Arians is understandably concerned about the offensive line’s current health situation, regardless of their next opponent. The Bucs will need to deal with either a defensive front featuring Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt if the Cardinals win tonight, or one featuring Aaron Donald and Von Miller in the event the Rams win.

 

Buccaneers To Re-Sign OL Josh Wells

Josh Wells is on track to spend another season in Florida. The Buccaneers are re-signing the veteran offensive lineman, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.

The former Jaguars tackle agreed to stay with the Bucs on a one-year deal, with Auman adding the agreement will be worth the veteran minimum. Wells will sign for $990K; $500K of this low-end pact is guaranteed (Twitter link via Auman).

Wells has served as a swing tackle during his two seasons in Tampa. He played that role for the Bucs’ Super Bowl champion team, starting one game and playing in 15. Wells, 30, has operated in this capacity for most of his career. The former UDFA topped out at five starts, doing so with the 2018 Jaguars, but has opened with the Bucs’ first-stringers three times in two seasons.

Wells will join a host of free agents that have agreed to stay in Tampa this month, following the likes of Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh. This is not a similar needle-moving agreement, but Wells has provided depth behind the likes of Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs.

Bucs Place Donovan Smith On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Buccaneers have placed starting LT Donovan Smith on the reserve/COVID-19 list, per a team announcement. As a result, Smith will miss Tampa’s matchup with the Falcons on Sunday.

The 27-year-old blocker released a statement saying that he had close contact with a family member who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Per league protocols, Smith must self-quarantine for at least five days.

Smith has never been a world-beater, but even an average blindside protector is a valuable commodity in the NFL, as evidenced by the three-year, $41.25MM contract Smith signed with the Bucs in 2019. He has been entrenched as the Bucs’ starting LT since Tampa selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft, and this Sunday’s contest will be just the second missed game of his career.

2020 has actually been a solid year for him relative to his usual performance, at least if you believe the advanced metrics. Pro Football Focus thinks favorably of both his run-blocking and pass-blocking this season and considers him the 39th-best tackle in the league out of 80 qualified players. Josh Wells will likely get the start in Smith’s absence.

There is some good news to pass along, however. Specialists Bradley PinionRyan Succop, and Zach Triner, who all found themselves on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, have been activated. According to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, one of those three players tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, and the other two were placed on the list as close contacts. However, it appears that the positive test was a false one.

In order to guard against the possibility of losing their primary punter, kicker, and long snapper, the Bucs brought in free agent P Dustin Colquitt, K Brett Maher, and LS Garrison Sanborn for visits, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets. It doesn’t sound like there is a need to sign those players now, but Tampa may be keeping them on speed dial just in case.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/4/20

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wells is returning to Tampa Bay on a one-year deal, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Wells spent the 2019 campaign with the Bucs, starting two of his 13 games. He previously spent five seasons with the Jaguars, appearing in 39 games (nine starts).

Murphy had a solid run with the Bills back in 2018, rushing for 250 yards on 52 carries. After getting cut by Buffalo prior to the 2019 regular season, Murphy didn’t find a deal until inking a futures contract with the Panthers in December.

McNichols, a 2017 fifth-round pick, has four career carries. He’s spent time with seven organizations during his career.

Buccaneers To Move Justin Evans To IR

A 10-game starter for the 2018 Buccaneers, Justin Evans will not have a chance to play in that many games this season. The Bucs are placing their former second-round pick on IR, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter).

The Bucs will sign offensive lineman Josh Wells to take Evans’ place on the 53-man roster. Wells worked out for the team last week.

This will mark at least 15 consecutive games Evans will have missed. A foot injury shelved him midway through last season, and IR rules stipulate the safety will not be eligible to return this year until Week 10. Evans is dealing with a nagging Achilles injury. Tampa Bay started Darian Stewart and Jordan Whitehead against San Francisco on Sunday.

A Texas A&M product, Evans landed with the Bucs as the No. 50 overall pick in 2017. He has started 19 of the 24 games in which he’s played. Under Bruce Arians this year, however, the Bucs selected safety Mike Edwards in Round 3.

Working mostly at tackle, Wells has played in 39 games — all with the Jaguars — since coming into the league as a UDFA in 2014. The 28-year-old blocker started five games for the 2018 Jags.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/7/19

We’ve got another big batch of workouts, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter).

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Texans could be looking for specialist help, as they worked out a pair of punters and a longsnapper. Boddy-Calhoun, who worked out for the Vikings, is probably the biggest name on this list. He started at least seven games for the Browns each of the past three seasons, but was released by Houston at final cuts.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/3/19

Here are today’s workout updates, all courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter) unless otherwise noted. The Saints had several recognizable players in for workouts.

Arizona Cardinals (Twitter link via veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer)

Carolina Panthers (Twitter link via Balzer)

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • Brandon Hitner

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins (Twitter link via Balzer)

AFC Notes: Stidham, Jags, Browns, Bolts

Although Tom Brady continuing to play at a high level into his early 40s has allowed the Patriots to table their need to identify a long-term successor for many years, their recent extension/2019 pay raise brings this issue back to the forefront. The Pats, however, are pleased with their latest quarterback draft pick. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham has “blown away expectations” this offseason, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required), adding that he is ahead of where Jimmy Garoppolo was at this point during his first NFL summer. Stidham has taken first-team reps in camp and moved the Patriots to move Danny Etling to wide receiver. He finished 14-for-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown in New England’s preseason opener Thursday. While the Auburn alum does not profile as a classic Brady successor type, the Patriots certainly appear encouraged by their developmental prospect.

As we wind down preseason Week 1, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • A.J. Cann has served as the Jaguars‘ starting right guard since his rookie season in 2015. He is not a lock to reprise his role in 2019. Cann is battling converted tackle Will Richardson for the spot, with Doug Marrone indicating (via Hays Carlyon of 1010 XL, on Twitter) Brandon Thomas is also in the mix here. A 2018 fourth-rounder, Richardson looks like the favorite to win this job thus far, Carlyon adds (via Twitter). Richardson has yet to play an NFL down; he hit IR in October of his rookie year. Thomas has hung around for six NFL summers, with the 2014 third-round 49ers pick having never played in a regular-season game. He’s bounced on and off the Jaguars’ roster and practice squad since 2017. Cann has three years remaining on a contract he signed in 2018.
  • With Cam Robinson potentially set to have a delayed start to the season, Marrone said the Jaguars are considering free agent additions Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester at left tackle. Longtime Jags backup Josh Wells is vying for that temp job as well. Second-round rookie Jawaan Taylor is set to start at right tackle.
  • Had Antonio Callaway not received a four-game suspension, the second-year Browns wideout might not have been able to go in Week 1 anyway. Callaway suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s preseason opener, per Freddie Kitchens (via ohio.com’s Nate Ulrich, on Twitter). The Browns will now be without two of their 2018 pass catchers, with Duke Johnson having been traded and Callaway out until at least October. Fortunately, they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
  • Chargers tight end Andrew Vollert suffered ACL damage in the team’s preseason opener, and Anthony Lynn said (via ESPN.com’s Eric Williams, on Twitter) the second-year UDFA will miss the season. The Bolts signed Vollert in May.