Buccaneers Add Former Buffalo Bills Cornerback Ashton Youboty

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off the 2011-2012 NFL Season with their annual Training Camp at One Buc Place in Tampa.

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Ashton Youboty Confident He'll Find Niche And Make Playos On Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not have made the high-profile free agent signings that others around the league did, but Josh Freeman is confident that the Bucs’ roster is in good shape on both sides of the ball. The Buccaneers made a move by signing cornerback Aston Youboty to a two-year deal.

The 27-year old Youboty, who has played all five of his NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, could turn out to be a great acquisition. He’s smack dab in the middle of his physical prime, and perhaps most importantly, he’ll be back in the Tampa-2 system that he’s most comfortable playing in (Buffalo abandoned the scheme after Youboty began to grasp its concepts several years into his career). His familiarity with the scheme is the main reason why he’s not concerned about acclimating himself to a new defense quickly prior to the start of the 2011 season.

“There’s no urgency,” Youboty said Tuesday after intercepting a pass in his second day of practice with the Bucs. “I think It’s more about responsibility and knowing what you’re trying to do, where they need you and playing within the scheme of a defense.

“Football is like chess. They teach you about the pieces and you know where they’ve got to be. They just do their jobs and the guys who make plays turn into rooks, pawns or whatever.”

Like any good coach would, Raheem Morris has not yet made any promises or declarations to Youboty about what his specific role will be. The Bucs situation at cornerback certainly is interesting and potentially volatile. Ronde Barber is well into his 30s, Aqib Talib’s off-field antics could reappear at any time, and the stable of young reserves is good but not great — or at least not proven just yet.

It’s not clear if Bucs’ fans will get their first good look at Youboty on Thursday night when Tampa Bay takes on the New England Patriots in the second of four preseason games. He did make his training camp debut on Tuesday, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him sidelined for another week while he gets his feet underneath him. We’ll probably get an answer on that front by tomorrow.

For more Bucs coverage and fan conversation, head on over to Bucs Nation.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Add Buffalo Bills Free Agent Cornerback Aston Youboty

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made just their second non-Buccaneer free agent signing today as they agreed to terms on a two-year deal with former Buffalo Bills cornerback Ashton Youboty. Besides having a funny name, Youboty is a former third round pick from the 2006 draft and has appeared in 43 games in his NFL career, all for the Bills.

Youboty is most likely an insurance sign for the Buccaneers, who are preparing for life without Aqib Talib in the event that the league levies and punishment on the embattled Talib in light of his legal allegations. The Buccaneers secondary is also dealing with hamstring injuries to both Talib, and Myron Lewis

Youboty was selected out of the Ohio State University in 2006, and has recorded 52 tackles and just 1 interception in his five year career. However, the Buccaneers believe he is the type of player that fits their mold and that he can perform in the Tampa Bay defensive scheme. He will be competing with Lewis, Elbert Mack, and Anthony Gaitor for a spot on the opening day roster.

Raheem Morris spoke positively of the signing, suggesting they had scouted Youboty themselves prior to the '06 draft.

"We always talk about long-term thinking, you never know what's going to happen. You never know how it's going to happen. To get a guy in here who liked in the draft and have an opportunity to sign is something we want to do."

The deal comes with little risk, as a source told the St. Petersburg Times that there is no guaranteed money in the contract and it will carry zero cap implications.

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Cadillac Williams Joins St. Louis Backfield

From our Buccaneers affiliate, Bucs Nation:

"It is official now: Cadillac Williams is signing with the St. Louis Rams. Williams will share a backfield with Steven Jackson and Jerious Norwood in St. Louis. The fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft has been solid when on the field, but injuries have marred his career. After rushing for 1,178 yards as a rookie, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and setting a rookie record by rushing for 434 yards in his first three games, Cadillac never approached that form again. 

Four games into his sophomore season, Cadillac Williams suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee that had people wondering whether he could ever return. Surprisingly, Cadillac did return - only to suffer a torn patellar tendon in his other knee in the 2008 season finale. Despite that, he returned for the start of the 2009 season and managed to wrest the starting job from Derrick Ward's grasp. Cadillac was the main running back for the Bucs in the dismal 2009 season, but looked pretty competent that year. Unfortunately, he appears to have lost much of his skill and did not look like a competent runner anymore in 2010. 

That is why losing Cadillac Williams will hurt the Bucs passing game, but shouldn't really affect the ground game. As a starter in 2010, Cadillac rushed for a paltry 2.96 yards per carry. While he improved on that number when he moved to a third-down role, it's clear that Cadillac can no longer carry a ground game. But as a pass-blocker and pass-catcher, Cadillac was invaluable to the Bucs. In fact, he caught the winning touchdown against the St. Louis Rams in the waning seconds of that game last season. It's ironic that the exact team he beat last year is the new he is now playing for, and it's a shame the Bucs will not see him on the field next year. 

We will miss you, Cadillac. Have a good career."

Bucs Nation writer, Sander

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RB Cadillac Williams Close To Signing With Rams?

This rumor comes from Chris Mortensen at ESPN:

Cadillac Williams finalizing deal with RAMS today.

Carnell Williams (AKA “Cadillac”) served as the Tampa Bay Bucs’ third-down back last season, and he’s an above average back at pass blocking and catching. While he has been around the league for a number of years and is approaching 30-years-old, he’s still likely the Bucs’ most dependable option as a third-down back. The Bucs do have a number of young players in camp trying out for the role – Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford – but they would be a stronger team if they could get Williams to return.

It sounds as though nothing is finalized yet, but it had been rumored recently that Williams was receiving interest from the St. Louis Rams. If he were to go elsewhere, it would be a blow to the Bucs’ depth chart.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Linebacker Adam Hayward

Lost in the shuffle of this weekend’s trade deadline action was the news that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a minor signing on Monday, inking linebacker Adam Hayward to a three-year contract.

In any sport, one of the keys to building a successful team is to make sure you have depth and the ability to adapt to injuries. Hayward is not good enough to be a starting player, but he provides the Bucs with a reliable option as a backup in case of injury. Last season he had to fill in when Quincy Black got injured, and the Bucs defense was able to keep going without missing a beat.

The Bucs appear to be finished making big signings, and as Bucs Nation points out, they now have plenty of depth at linebacker:

By signing Hayward the Bucs have rounded out their linebacking corps, which now consists of Quincy Black, Tyrone McKenzie, Geno Hayes, Mason Foster, Dekoda Watson and Adam Hayward. The Bucs also have undrafted rookies Nick Reveiz, Derrell Smith, Victor Aiyewa and Brandon Heath, as well as practice squad player Lawrence Simoni. Those players will have to excel on special teams to make the roster, and Derrell Smith and Nick Reveiz stand a decent chance of making it to the practice squad.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign All Draft Picks, Restricted Free Agents

According to the Tampa Tribune, as of Saturday morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially signed all their 2011 draft picks. And according to Pewter Report, they have also officially signed all their restricted and exclusive-rights free agents.

Coming into today, the Bucs had only one last draft pick to sign: sixth round pick Allen Bradford, a running back from Southern Cal. All their other picks signed earlier in the week, and have already been working out at the Bucs’ training camp. For news on these signings and analysis on the future roles of these players, please see our other articles on Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, and Mason Foster.

As for the restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, the folks at Bucs Nation have the news:

Rudy Carpenter, Connor Barth, Micheal Spurlock, James Lee and Elbert Mack had already signed their tenders yesterday. The Bucs now added Demar Dotson, Michael Bennett, Frank Okam and Corey Lynch to that list.

The Bucs have also signed 16 undrafted free agents this week, and they have been busy resigning a number of their players from last year: Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, and Quincy Black. They made one free agent signing — punter Michael Koenen — and they have rumored to be in on a couple high-end free agents. They may still pursue a free agent or two on the market, but as the Bucs seem content to build through the draft, I wouldn’t expect any bombshells.

But as always, we’ll keep you updated on any moves the Bucs make over these upcoming weeks.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Report: Asomugha Off The Market, Philly The Rumored Mystery Team

Philedelphia continues to silently shock the sports world. Not too long ago, it was dropping Donovan McNabb for Michael Vick. In baseball, the Cliff Lee acquisition stunning the Yankees and Rangers. Now?

The Eagles are reported to have signed Nnamdi Asomugha. Five years, $60 million according to ESPN’s Adam Scheftner. The Eagles had the cap room, not much unlike the Bucs, but the race was too hot for Tampa Bay to stay competitive. Both teams had a 10-6 record last season.

As the day progressed, the Dallas Cowboys were the front runner, followed by the Jets getting all the attention in the afternoon, but all along the twitter-sphere spoke of a mystery team – and that team is now revealed.

The city of Philadelphia is a silent assassin.

The Eagles also acquired pro-bowl corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb trade this offseason, leading many to believe Asante Samuel will be on the trade block in the near future.

The Bucs and Eagles will not meet this season.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter and Facebook.

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Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Out On Nnamdi Asomugha

This news comes as no surprise. According to ProFootball Talk, it sounds as though the Tampa Bay Bucs were never serious suitors for Nnamdi Asomugha:

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Bucs aren’t, and haven’t been, in the hunt for Asomugha. …

Though there’s a chance it was all a smokescreen, it’s more likely that the Bucs are being bandied about because they’ve got the cash. Which in turn could drive up the price.

As we mentioned last night, the Nnamdi/Bucs rumors never made a lot of sense. The Bucs have expressly stated that they intend to build through the draft, depending on a core of young players, and Nnamdi is already 30 years old. He also will come at a very steep price tag, and while the Bucs have cap space, they have been very hesitant to sign expensive free agents.

The most current rumors suggest that the Nnamdi Asomugha bidding has come down to just the Jets and Cowboys, as the 49ers have supposedly backed out.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Big Night For The Bucs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, Michael Koenen

Something tells me Josh Freeman is sleeping a little easier tonight. While we were pretty sure the deals were in place earlier this evening, we now have official word that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to terms with three free agents Thursday evening, including re-signing guard Davin Joseph and tackle Jeremy Trueblood, and adding punter Michael Koenen. 

Steve Duemig of 620 AM/WDAE first reported the signing on his Twitter account, and it was later confirmed by Adam Schefter and by Joseph himself on his Twitter feed:

@DavinJoseph75: It's official!! I'm a Buccaneer!!!

Joseph was rumored to be a big target in free agency, and Bucs GM Mark Dominik had made resigning the Oklahoma standout his #1 offseason priority. Duemig reports that the deal is for seven years and $53 million, with up to $19 million of it guaranteed. That number that will go a long way towards helping the Bucs reach a salary floor that they are still well short of.

Earlier this week, second-year defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune how important resigning Joseph is in his mind.

"I personally mention Davin because that's my guy,'' second-year defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "First off, he went to Oklahoma (McCoy's alma mater), and so I watched tape on him there.  Then I went against him all last year (in practice) and going against him every day is what made me get better throughout the year. So, if I'm trying to have a big comeback year, I'm going to need him out there.''

Trueblood also has reportedly agreed to terms on a two-year deal and will most likely compete with James Lee for the starting job, a position that Trueblood lost to Lee last year while he was injured. Trueblood has spent four years as a starter on the Bucs offensive line, but has often drawn the ire of fans and coaches because of untimely penalties and sloppy play in pass protection. Despite his recent struggles, his signing along with Joseph's will ensure that the Buccaneers will field a formidable offensive line for years to come.

Koenen is a six-year veteran punter, having spent his entire career with the Atlanta Falcons. The Buccaneers struggled last season to get consistency from their punters and hope that Koenen, who is known for his big leg, will stabilize the position for a long time. He was given a six year deal, terms unknown.

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Rumor: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Suitors For Nnamdi Asomugha?

Well, this is a surprise. While the Tampa Bay Bucs lost out on Jonathan Joseph earlier today, recent rumors have suggested that the Buccaneers are involved in the Nnamdi Asomugha bidding.

On one hand, this move makes sense. Nnamadi is widely considered one of the best free agents available — if not the best — and the Bucs have been trying to add more high-end depth at cornerback. They’re likely concerned about Aqib Talib’s long-term situation, and they have plenty of cap space to spend on a high caliber talent.

But then again, the Bucs have seemed reluctant to get too engaged in talks with expensive free agents this week. There have been mild rumors that they have had interest in a couple players — Jonathan Joseph and Doug Free — but the Bucs were never considered the top suitor in either case and their names surfaced late in the game. The Bucs lost out on Joseph and Free, supposedly for monetary issues, so I wonder if they’re willing to pay as much as it’d take to land Nnamdi.

So is this rumor legit or not? I’d be somewhat skeptical of it, as there have been no hints that the Bucs are interested in Nnamdi prior to this. And as Sander at Bucs Nation points out, this move wouldn’t exactly line up with the Bucs’ long-term plans:

But, let’s temper any expectations. Nnamdi does not fit with the Bucs’ supposed plan: Nnamdi is 30 years old, which certainly doesn’t fit with the Bucs’ youth movement. Keep in mind that good cornerbacks can play well until their mid-30s, though. Besides that, Dominik wants to stick with building through the draft. Obviously, signing Nnamdi would not fit with that. We’ll have to see, but Nnamdi Asomugha has been heavily linked to the New York Jets, and the Jets have supposedly created cap room to sign him.

Best case scenario? The Bucs are interested, but are still long-shots to sign Nnamadi. But hey, crazier things have happened. This rumor refuses to die on Twitter, so we’re just going to have to ride this one out to the end.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood

Update: There's been no official confirmation of this news yet, and Pewter Report is suggesting both deals aren't quite finalized yet. So stay tuned.

According to J.P. Peterson of 1010AM CBS Sports Radio, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement in principle with both Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood. The terms of the agreement are not known yet, but the deal is expected to be announced within the next few days.

After taking Joseph and Trueblood out to dinner last night, it sounded this morning as if a deal was imminent. Joseph tweeted a number of positive comments about the Bucs after the meeting, claiming he loved the new offensive coach and he was looking forward to staying in Tampa Bay for a long time. He also hinted that as Jeremy Trueblood was willing to stay, so was he; the two appear to have come as a package deal.

Davin Joseph is widely considered to be a key member of the Tampa Bay Bucs’ offensive line, so his return should come as a relief to Bucs fans. As for Jeremy Trueblood…well, let’s just say that he will be competing for a starting role with the Bucs in camp this year. Fans have criticized him for being a poor pass blocker, and there are also concerns about him being responsible for a large number of penalties (notably holding penalties). It’s likely that he will start the season as the backup to James Lee.

The Bucs are still looking to add a few parts to their team, and there have been unconfirmed reports that they are pursuing cornerback Jonathan Joseph. As always, we’ll continue to keep you informed of all the recent rumors and signings as they happen.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Rumor: Johnathan Joseph Receives Offer From Tampa Bay Bucs?

According to a writer at Rotoinfo.com, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an offer on the table to cornerback Jonathan Joseph. There is no word at the moment what the potential terms of the deal may be.

In all honesty, I’m not sure what to make of this rumor. It was first reported elsewhere by the folks at Bucs Nation, who feel this Rotoinfo writer is reliable. I trust the writers at Bucs Nation, and I feel confident they wouldn’t run with something unless it is highly likely to be true. That said, there have been all sorts of wild rumors floating around out there, so it’s best to be skeptical. Until this rumor is confirmed by another source, I’d be wary of giving it too much credence. I’m remaining skeptical, and I suggest you do the same.

If this rumor turns out to be true, we’ll have more coverage and analysis coming up. Until then, stay tuned.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Have Signed 16 Undrafted Free Agents, Handful Could Make Team

At last count, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had signed around 12 undrafted free agents, the majority of which looked like mere camp bodies. But with how fast-paced this week has been, plenty can change in the course of a day. The Bucs signed four more undrafted free agents yesterday, making this their updated list of signings (courtesy of NE Patriot’s Draft):

LB Nick Reveiz,Tennessee
LB Derrell Smith, Syracuse
WR Raymond Webber, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
WR Detron Lewis, Texas Tech
RB Mossis Madu, Oklahoma
QB Mike Coughlin, Boise State
RB Armando Allen, Notre Dame
C Matt Allen, Texas A&M
OL Corey Brandon, Oklahoma
LB Brandon Heath, Louisville
K Josh Jasper, LSU
LS Christian Yount, UCLA
WR Jock Sanders, West Virginia
LS Aaron Feld, Mississippi State
S Devin Holland, McNeese State
OL Quinton Boders, Union College
OL Thomas Claiborne, Boston College

See here for a full list of other teams’ UFA signings.

These signing should have little impact on the Bucs’ final 2011 roster, as undrafted free agents typical don’t last any longer than training camp, but Sander over at Bucs Nation has pointed out three UFAs that could potentially make the Bucs’ roster. These players are wide receiver Raymond Webber, running back Armando Allen Jr., and linebacker Nick Reveiz.

For complete scouting reports on them, I recommend you check out Sander’s full article at Bucs Nation. None of these players looks like an impact signing (which is why they went undrafted in the first place), but they could still possibly be useful role players and contribute in certain situations.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Barrett Ruud Will Not Be Back With Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There were rumors that this was going to be the case when draft pick Mason Foster signed his deal with the Bucs earlier this week, but it’s now all but official: Barrett Ruud will not be coming back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From Stephen Holder, St. Petersburg Times:

BTW, this morning I expressed a little doubt about #Bucs stance on Ruud. Conversations w/sources 2day have clarified things. He’s gone

That Mason Foster stuff was no smokescreen on Tues. Only way Ruud comes back is a low $, short-term contract if there’s no market for him

So after six seasons with the Bucs, Ruud will have to find work elsewhere. There’s been no reason given why the Bucs have decided to look elsewhere for help at linebacker, but it can only come down to three things: talent, money, or a combination of the two.

While he’s been praised by the Bucs on occasion, Ruud has his detractors; the Bucs have had a very poor run defense over the last couple of years, and it’s possible that a change at linebacker could help the Bucs improve. As the folks at Bucs Nation pointed out on Twitter, linebacker is a relatively easy position for rookies to step in and learn. If Ruud was supposed to be expensive and the transition to Foster has a good chance to be smooth, it seems like a good move by the Bucs.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Second Round Pick Da'Quan Bowers Signs Deal With Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If the NFL Lockout did one positive thing for football, it appears it has all but eliminated the rookie contract holdout. In just one day the Buccaneers have signed all three of their top three round picks from the 2011 draft class, completing the trifecta by signing Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers to a 4-year contract before training camp has even begun.

Bowers basically broke the news himself via twitter.

@DaQuanBowers93: Feels good to finally be a buc officially.... Dotted line signed ....

Bowers will join earlier signees, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and linebacker Mason Foster, rounding out a corps of rookies that will look to make immediate impact to a young Buccaneer defense that lacked splash plays and a consistent pass rush last season. 

Bowers was considered by many to be a top 10 talent in the draft but fell due to worry about a knee injury that Bowers sustained in college. Bowers has been telling the media for months that his knee is fine and the Bucs front office basically confirmed that earlier this week when he passed his physical at One Buc Place and was cleared to begin training camp this Friday.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Agree To Terms With Linebacker Quincy Black

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement on a new deal with free-agent linebacker Quincy Black, reports Anwar Richardson of the Tampa Tribune. The deal will pay Black $29 million dollars over 5 years with $11.5 dollars of guaranteed money. 

Black, 27, was drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft and has started 23 games for the Bucs over the last two seasons. In 2010, Black recorded 61 tackles, 2 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in an injury shortened season, making only 10 starts. 

This is the first free agent signing of the off-season the Bucs who have said they prefer to build from the draft and sign from within. General manager Mark Dominik told the press that he would spend significant effort on resigning his own guys including Black, and free agent guard Davin Joseph, even resorting to "wining and dining them" if necessary.

Black will help sure up a linebacking corps that may face some turmoil and uncertainty with the pending departure of middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, whom Dominik has hinted that he does not intend to resign. 

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Bucs Yet To Make An Offer To Davin Joseph, Close To Signing Quincy Black

According to the man himself, Guard Davin Joseph has yet to receive an offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about retaining his services. Joseph, one of the Bucs most prominent unrestriced free agents took to twitter this morning to let fans know that he is still looking for work.

@DavinJoseph75 I am still waiting on a contract offer from Tampa. The earliest I can sign a contract is on Friday.

Joseph also went on to say that his agent is fielding offers from other teams. Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik made a point to the media Tuesday that Joseph would be a priority and that he plans to "wine and dine" his teams free agents this week in an effort to get them resigned. 

If that is the case, It appears that free agent linebacker Quincy Black has been eating well this week as he is reportedly close to agreeing to terms on a new deal with the Buccaneers possibly as soon as later today or tomorrow.

Black spent five games on the injured reserve list in 2010 while recording 61 tackles. 

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Doug Free Signs With Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Bucs Miss Out

Word broke on Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going hard after free agent LT Doug Free, but sadly they appear to have missed out. From Adam Schefter, ESPN:

Dallas reached agreement on a four-year, $32 million deal that included $17 million in guaranteed money with OT Doug Free.

The Bucs have plenty of salary room — in fact, they need to spend something close to $50 million in order to reach the cap floor — so there has been much speculation that they could make a splash in the free agent pool. They have an opening at right tackle, so Doug Free would have been a good fit for them, but they’re going to have to search for an upgrade from elsewhere now.

For what it’s worth, I still expect the Bucs to take a gamble on adding an impact player or two via free agency. They have to spend the money, and Mark Dominik has made it clear that he doesn’t intend to fill out the budget with replacement or backup players. They’ll sign someone; we’re just going to have to wait a bit to find out who.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Bucs Sign Mason Foster, Leave Barrett Ruud Hanging

Third-round pick Mason Foster signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early on Tuesday, making him the first draft pick signed by the Bucs (and the first signed by any NFL team). His signing has since been overshadowed by the signing of first round pick Adrian Clayborn, but Foster's signing is significant too. How so? He could spell the end of Barrett Ruud's time in Tampa Bay.

Short snippet from Pewter Report:

Dominik heaped heavy praise on Foster, who will play middle linebacker for the Bucs, indicating that he was going to play a big role in Tampa Bay's defense for years to come. Dominik was non-committal about the return of unrestricted free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, and the fact that the team made sure Foster was the first draft pick signed is a strong indication that Ruud's days in Tampa Bay could be over. 

The Bucs could still sign Ruud, but it seems as though the writing is on the wall. Their defense has had issues stopping the run for the past few seasons, and while Ruud has been the Bucs' leading tackler, the Bucs seem to want a change from the linebacker position. Maybe they feel that bringing in someone new could help change their run defense, as they seem ready to handy to hand the starting job to Foster already:

"I knew that Barrett had played six years in Tampa and he would be an unrestricted free agent regardless of whether free agency was four years or six years. At that point, you have to start preparing in case you don't have Barrett Ruud. The draft came and fell to us in a way that we liked Mason Foster where we got him. We are happy to have him on this football team. Those are the two components that came together and that's why we made sure that Mason Foster was the first to get signed on the first available day to sign draft picks and get him in the building and get him prepared with the coaching staff." (GM Mark Dominik, via Pewter Report)

As it is, the Bucs are going to have a very different looking defense already. First round pick Adrian Clayborn and second round pick Da'Quan Bowers should both help immensely, so Ruud's departure shouldn't be viewed as a death-knell for the Bucs' defense. It's a risky move and it could take time for all the young players to adjust, but the Bucs will still more than likely have an improved defense in 2011. The only question is, how much?

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Bucs Sign First-Round Pick Adrian Clayborn And Two Other Draft Pick

The NFL opened for business just yesterday, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have wasted no time getting work done. In addition to signing a slew of undrafted free agents, the Bucs have agreed to terms with three of their 2011 draft picks: first round pick Adrian Clayborn, third round pick Mason Foster, and seventh round pick Daniel Hardy.

Adrian Clayborn is the first first-round pick to sign with a team, although it doesn’t sound like there was much haggling done over his contract. From Bucs Nation:

Clayborn will sign a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year based on the salary of the 3rd through 25th most highly paid players at his position in that year. The length of the agreement and the option were prescribed by the new NFL CBA and were hence not up for negotiation.

Clayborn will enter in and help the Bucs’ defense immediately, likely opening the season as the Bucs’ starting right end. He’s a very strong player and excels at shutting down the run, which is an area the Bucs have needed help in. While his senior year was slightly disappointing after his impressive junior year — 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks sets the bar somewhat high — but he still had 52 tackles and 3.5 sacks, and scouting reports widely rate him as an excellent defensive player. He was a very safe draft pick for the Bucs, so here’s hoping he’s contributing to the Bucs’ defense for years to come.

The Bucs are the only team to sign any of their draft picks yet, but by signing these players so early, it ensures that they will be able to attend training camp right from the beginning. As the Bucs had a very impressive haul in the NFL Draft, it’s likely they want to get these players into their system and contributing as quickly as possible.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Bucs News: Da'Quan Bowers And Arrelious Benn Pass Physicals, Cleared For Camp

Categorize these two news items in the No Big Surprises Here, But Still Good News category. According to Pewter Report and BHSN, Da’Quan Bowers and Arrelious Benn have both been cleared as healthy and can participate in training camp.

Da’Quan Bowers was the Tampa Bay Bucs’ second round draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, but the only reason he fell so low in the draft was due to health concerns. Bowers had been considered one of the top defensive players in the country, but then suffered a knee injury and required offseason surgery this past year. Despite continued concerns over his knee in the media, Bowers has been claiming for months that his knee is fine:

My knee is fine. It’s way ahead of schedule. it took some time to get my strength back. But I’ve been going through rehab and working out ever since anuary when I had the surgery. It’s finally back to the shape where I can run and cut like I aupposed to. It feels great, and I’m looking forward to being in Training Camp. No setbacks, to why I should be in Training Camp. So everything is a full go from here. (NFL.com interview)

As for wide receiver Arrelious Benn, he spent the offseason rehabbing after tearing his ACL in Week 16 last season. His recovery has been quick to this point, but the Bucs will still likely take it slow with him and all him to recover at his own speed. As of today, though, Benn is claiming he expects to be ready to open the season with the club.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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Tampa Bay Bucs Sign Undrafted Free Agents Brandon Heath, Cory Brandon, And Four Others

News broke this morning of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing six undrafted free agents, but as it turns out, that was only the very beginning. Since this morning, the Bucs have reportedly signed six more players (per NEPatriotsDraft.com):

C Matt Allen, Texas A&M
RB Armando Allen Jr., Notre Dame
OL Cory Brandon, Oklahoma
LB Brandon Heath, Louisville
K Josh Jasper, LSU
LS Christian Yount, UCLA

As with the batch this morning, there are some intriguing names within the bunch and a couple players with upside, but for the most part their purpose will be to serve as roster filler during camp. Maybe one or two of them impresses and manages to break camp with the practice squad or as a backup player, but odds are very high that there are no superstars in hiding in this group.

To me, one of the more intriguing names is kicker Josh Jasper. The folks over at Bucs Nation seem decently high on him:

He played for LSU and was pretty accurate there, making 47/56 kicks with a career long of 53 yards. He missed one extra point on 76 attempts. The only problem: he’s not great on kickoffs. He’ll compete with Connor Barth in camp, but I doubt he beats Barth out.

The signings just keep coming in. Geez, it’s like teams are trying to make up for lost time or something…

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow SB Nation Tampa Bay on Twitter or Facebook.

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USF Players Sampson Genus And Dontavia Bogan Signed As Undrafted Free Agents

There was some good news for two former USF players last night as WR Dontavia Bogan and C Sampson Genus both signed undrafted free agents deals with the San Fransisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

Bogan was asked to carry the load for the Bulls at WR last season with injuries to A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin and he delivered. In 12 games, Dontavia caught a team high 47 balls for 685 yards and 6 touchdowns. Opposing secondaries shifted their coverage around Bogan as he was the only wide receiver with any type of experience last season, but was still able to put up some of the best numbers in USF history. His 685 receiving yards was 2nd in USF history, and his 6 touchdown catches placed him 2nd in USF history as well.

Bogan will have to make his mark on special teams, and his ability to return kicks might prove to be valuable if he's able to latch onto the final roster. There are 7 wide receivers on San Fransisco's current squad, but Bogan might have a chance as no one on the roster has had a chance to learn Jim Harbaugh's new offense. I'm sure that San Fransisco's new linebackers coach will try to keep Bogan on as well.

Genus was one of the best offensive lineman in the Big East over the past two seasons. The 6'1", 315 lb lineman was the leader of an experienced offensive line, and was named to the 2010 All-Big East Team after being named to the 2nd team his junior year. Genus has a decent chance of making the final roster, with Scott Wells as the only true center on the roster. Genus has had experience at offensive guard earlier in his career, so his versatility could prove to be valuable for the Super Bowl Champs.

Good luck to both of them at the next level, and check back to Voodoo Five for more information on USF.

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Lockout Postmortem: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preseason Schedule

The NFL lockout is over, and life is returning to normal for the The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beginning with training camp starting this Thursday and the first team practice on Friday. The next week will be hectic for the Buccaneers as free-agency begins and the team will have to spend some money to get themselves to the new salary floor.

Despite all the angst in the media over the lockout, it turns out that we won't even lose a pre-season game this year and the only thing really effected by the labor strife was the Canton, Ohio Hall of Fame Game.

Now that we know know games will be missed, here is a reminder of the upcoming Buccaneers preseason schedule:

  • August 12th - Tampa Bay @ Kansas City, 8PM  FOX
  • August 18th - New England @ Tampa Bay,  7:30PM  CBS
  • August 27th - Miami @ Tampa Bay.  7:30PM  CBS
  • September 1st - Tampa Bay @ Washington.  7:30 PM  TBA
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Tampa Bay Bucs Sign Six Undrafted Free Agents

With the NFL Lockout over, teams can now begin signing free agents and preparing for the 2011-2012 season. While signings can’t be made official until 10am Tuesday morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have wasted no time in jumping into the fray. So far, the Bucs have reached agreements with six undrafted free agents: LB Nick Reveiz, QB Mike Coughlin, LB Derrell Smith, WR Raymond Webber, WR Detron Lewis, and RB Mossis Madu.

It’s not worth giving long scouting reports on these guys, as it’s unlikely that any of them end up contributing much to the Bucs. Teams normally sign a large amount of undrafted free agents during the offseason, allowing them to bring a large roster into camp. It’s akin to baseball teams signing scrub players to minor-league deals right before Spring Training; extra depth is needed for preseason workouts, and you never know if one of these players may work out. They’re cheap, easy-to-acquire depth, so it’s certainly worth taking a low-risk gamble and finding out.

But hey, after a long lockout, any sort of football news has to be exciting for Bucs fans. Things are finally starting to move in the right direction, and training camp will be starting in a matter of mere days. Finally, it’s a good time to be a football fan.

For more on the Bucs and their offseason signings, follow Bucs Nation.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free Agency Primer

For well over four months, fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had the opportunity to prognosticate about what the organization would do with their various free agents when the lockout finally came to an end. Well, that day has finally come, and as of Tuesday morning, all 32 teams will be free to begin the process of negotiating with former players as the league frantically tries to solidify the shape of their rosters prior to the start of training camps a bit later in the week.

For the young Buccaneers, free agency won't be quite as frenzied or important for their fate in 2011 as it will be with other squads around the league, but there's still a number of restricted and unrestricted free agents who the Bucs will have to make quick determinations about in the proceeding days. Let's take a look at the list.

Buccaneers Restricted Free Agents (3+ years accrued service)

 

Player

Position

School

Right of First Refusal/Draft pick compensation

Barth, Connor

K

North Carolina

2nd

Lee, James

T

South Carolina State

2nd

Lynch, Corey

DB

Appalachian State

6th

Mack, Elbert

DB

Troy

ROFR

Okam, Frank

NT

Texas

5th

Spurlock, Micheal

WR

Mississippi

ROFR

 

 

Buccaneers Unrestricted Free Agents (4+ years accrued service)

 

Player

Position

School

Black, Quincy

LB

New Mexico

Crowder, Tim

DE

Texas

Gilmore, John

TE

Penn State

Hayward, Adam

LB

Portland State

Joseph, Davin

G

Oklahoma

Koutouvides, Niko

LB

Purdue

Ruud, Barrett

LB

Nebraska

Stovall, Maurice

WR

Notre Dame

Trueblood, Jeremy

T

Boston College

White, Stylez G

DE

Minnesota

Williams, Carnell

RB

Auburn

 

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NFL Lockout Over; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp To Begin Thursday

The NFL and the NFLPA* finally got to pop champagne Monday as they agreed to a new 10-year labor agreement, ending the contentious, summer-long league lockout. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will immediately get back to work and begin their 2011-2012 season by opening training camp this Thursday, with the first practice taking place on Friday. 

For the third consecutive season, training camp will be held at One Buc Place in downtown Tampa after having returned to the Bay Area from Disney, in Orlando two seasons ago. Tampa Bay fans will be able to watch their favorite team practice nine times during this years camp. Practice is always free to the public, and no tickets are required for admission.

The full schedule of open practices is below, and may be subject to change.

DATE

SCHEDULE

Friday, July 29

5:15 - 7:15 p.m.

Saturday, July 30

2:30 – 4:35 p.m.

Sunday, July 31

5:15 - 7:15 p.m.

Monday, August 1

5:15 - 7:15 p.m.

Wednesday, August 3

2:30 - 4:35 p.m.

Friday, August 5

2:30 - 4:35 p.m.

Saturday, August 6

7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Night Practice at RJS)

Tuesday, August 9

2:30 - 4:35 p.m.

Sunday, August 14

2:30 - 4:35 p.m.

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