Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rumors & News

Nick Folk Confident He'll Kick With Bucs Or Another Team In 2017

Folk signed a one-year, $1.75MM deal with $750K guaranteed. Aguayo went 22-for-31 on field goals last season, putting the former second-round pick’s future in question. Auman offers that Folk’s experience as an 11th-year veteran could give him the edge if this competition is close, Aguayo’s status as a rare Day 2 kicker pick notwithstanding. As Auman points out, Folk winning the job would make it six straight years the Bucs will have deployed a different kicker.

Despite spending the entirety of the 2010s thus far with the Jets and being that franchise’s most accurate kicker, Nick Folk wasn’t especially surprised by his early-offseason release. The 32-year-old kicker is now with the Buccaneers, which would be surprising given their recent investment history at this position. Roberto Aguayo‘s struggles have opened the door to an ongoing competition, but Folk doesn’t believe he has to win it to be kicking in the NFL this season.

Jets Shopped Sheldon Richardson To Bucs, Colts, Seahawks

The Jets are still attempting to shop defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, and though they’ve offered him to clubs such as the Buccaneers, Colts, and Seahawks, Gang Green has yet to find a taker, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.Sheldon Richardson (vertical)

New York has been accepting offers for Richardson since at least the 2016 trade deadline, when both the Broncos and Cowboys expressed interest in the 26-year-old. Last month, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested that while the Jets want to move Richardson, they won’t simply give him away. The likelihood of a trade could be around 50/50, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News recently reported New York’s price for its talented pass rusher has dropped.

Richardson certainly has his warts, which could contribute to a limited trade market. For one, he wasn’t all that effective last season, as Richardson managed only 1.5 sacks in 15 games (though he still graded out as the NFL’s No. 31 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus). Richardson also comes with off-field question marks, as he has a substance abuse suspension in his past, and has dealt with commitment and tardiness issues.

Additionally, Richardson is only under contract for one more season. In 2017, Richardson will earn $8.069MM under the terms of his fifth-year option before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Teams Take On Int’l Players

The NFL announced that the teams of the NFC South will be carrying an additional overseas player on their practice squads during the upcoming season. This is part of the league’s flagship International Player Pathway program.

Now, the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers will all be operating with an 11-man practice squad while the rest of the league has ten. However, they don’t necessarily have an advantage over other clubs because these additional overseas players cannot be activated during the season.

Here is a look at the players who will be joining each taxi squad:

  • Falcons: Alex Gray, TE – Gray, a former rugby star, is the first English rugby union professional to quit the sport to pursue American football. The 26-year-old was named the England Sevens player of the year in 2015. He not to be confused with the undrafted Appalachian State safety of the same name who joined the Bucs’ 90-man roster.
  • Panthers: Efe Obada, DE – Obada, who grew up in the Netherlands and England, was on the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2010. Prior to the 2016 season, he also had brief stints with the Chiefs and Falcons.
  • Saints: Alex Jenkins, DE – Jenkins was born and raised in England but actually has a background in American football. Back home, he played for the Bath City Academy and for the Bristol Aztecs before earning a spot on the Great Britain youth team. He played his college ball in San Antonio, Texas at the University of the Incarnate Word. He had 3.5 sacks in his senior year.
  • Buccaneers: Eric Nzeocha, LB – Nzeocha is now the second German-born player to join up with the Bucs in franchise history. German safety Claudius Osei spent the 2005 campaign on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad as part of a similar program. Nzeocha’s brother Mark is a linebacker for the Cowboys.

Buccaneers Sign Justin Evans

  • The Buccaneers have inked second-round safety Justin Evans to a deal, tweets FanRag’s Roy Cummings. With Evans under contract, the only one of the Bucs’ six picks who’s unsigned is third-rounder Chris Godwin. Evans, the 50th pick, played the previous two seasons at Texas A&M, breaking out as a playmaker in 2016 with four interceptions. The 6-foot, 199-pound Evans is an “extremely physical hitter,” per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who notes that he has the makings of a “plus NFL starter.”

Buccaneers Sign Three Draft Picks

  • The Buccaneers have agreed to terms with third-round linebacker Kendell Beckwith, fifth-round running back Jeremy McNichols, and seventh-round defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, the club announced today. Tampa Bay traded up in the draft to acquire both Beckwith and Tu’ikolovatu. Of the trio, Beckwith seemingly has the best chance for playing time early in his career, as he can take over at strong-side ‘backer for Daryl Smith. McNichols, meanwhile, could earn a role pending Doug Martin‘s eventual martin, although the Boise State product is recovering from surgery.

Cecil Shorts III Eyeing 2018 Return

After suffering a series of gruesome knee injuries last year, Cecil Shorts III won’t be able to take the field in 2017, he tells SiriusXM (on Twitter). He’ll take the year off and work towards an NFL return in 2018. Cecil Shorts III (vertical)

Shorts suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and PCL along with a dislocated knee midway through his season with the Buccaneers. That was just the latest setback for Shorts who missed 19 regular season games between 2011 and 2015. Shorts managed to gut his way through some hamstring issues, but this is the toughest challenge he has ever faced.

Even before the injury last winter, Shorts wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. In nine games, he had just eleven catches for 152 yards.

Shorts will turn 30 in December, so he’ll be looking to get back into football on the verge of his age-31 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Josh Freeman Hoping To Play In CFL

Buccaneers Sign First-Round TE O.J. Howard

The juice is no longer loose. The Buccaneers have signed first-round pick O.J. Howard, according to a team announcement. O.J. Howard (Vertical)

Heading into the draft, the Alabama product was projected by some as a top 10 pick. With that in mind, the Bucs were over the moon when they were able to grab Howard at No. 19 overall. Evan Engram and David Njoku were also widely regarded as Day 1 talents, but Howard was universally considered to be the best TE in this year’s crop.

The 6’6″ tight end tallied 45 catches and 595 yards with three touchdowns in his senior year for the Crimson Tide. Blessed with tremendous athletic ability, Tampa Bay is excited about the prospect of using him in a lot of two tight end sets alongside last year’s starter Cameron Brate. In time, Howard could become the team’s TE1 and a top overall performer at the position.

Howard is the first member of the Buccaneers’ rookie class to sign. The team still have five players to go, including second round safety Justin Evans, third round wide receiver Chris Godwin, and third round linebacker Kendell Beckwith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers Waive QB Sean Renfree

Following the signing of veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Buccaneers waived fellow signal-caller Sean Renfree, the club announced.Sean Renfree (Vertical)

[RELATED: Bucs Didn’t Consider Colin Kaepernick]

Renfree, 27, never attempted a pass for Tampa Bay, as he’d just signed a futures contract with the club earlier this year. A former seventh-round pick, Renfree spent the first three seasons of his career elsewhere in the NFC South, acting as a backup in Atlanta. His only NFL action came in 2015, when he completed three of seven passes for 11 yards and one interception.

After being waived by the Falcons last September, Renfree spent ample time on the workout circuit, auditioning for the Panthers, Saints, Broncos, Giants, and Bills. He also worked out for the Patriots in early September after Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett suffered injuries.

Fitzpatrick will enter the 2017 campaign as the Buccaneers’ clear backup behind starter Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay also has Ryan Griffin in tow, but none of his $1.797MM base salary is guaranteed, so the club could conceivably part ways with Griffin if it chooses to go forward with only two quarterbacks on the roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Roberto Aguayo Prepared For Competition

  • We heard several months ago that the Buccaneers could be preparing to move on from Roberto Aguayo, and as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk (citing PewterReport.com) writes, Aguayo is ready for his competition with newly-signed Nick Folk. Said Aguayo, “It is motivation. When I was in college there would be walk-on kids come in and I didn’t know who they were or if they were good or whatever. But whoever they were, it was always a competition for me. Just seeing someone else out there trying to compete. I like it.”