The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were very good at keeping Tom Brady upright in 2020, and it paid off with a Super Bowl. This week, they’ve bolstered that group with a very familiar face.
31-year old guard Earl Watford has signed back with the team, after being on the roster last year. He spent time on the practice squad, and did make appearances on the active roster, but did not appear in a game for the Super Bowl champions.
He first signed with the Buccaneers in 2019, and appeared in 15 games for the team, with four starts. He began his NFL career in 2013 as an Arizona Cardinal, after being selected in the fourth round of the draft out of James Madison. He played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, and returned to the Cardinals later this year. In 2018, he spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears, and was a practice squad member of the New England Patriots in 2020 before rejoining Tampa.
The Buccaneers have dealt with some injuries along the offensive line this summer. Watford gives them depth, and someone familiar with Bruce Arians’ offensive system who can plug right in and play if need be.
— Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated (@SIBuccaneers) August 12, 2021
In a corresponding move, the Bucs waived second-year defensive tackle Sam Renner. He had signed with the team in February after spending the 2020 season with the Los Angeles Rams.
As Greg Auman of The Athletic points out, Tampa Bay was in real need of extra offensive linemen with recent injuries to centers Robert Hainsey and Donell Stanley, and tackles Josh Wells and Chidi Okeke.
Bucs practiced with 10 OL on Wednesday, with centers Robert Hainsey and Donell Stanley out, as well as tackles Josh Wells and Chidi Okeke. One more injury and they couldn’t field a full second-string line.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 12, 2021
Luckily, most of these are issues for players down the depth chart. Wells made one start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, the only player on that list to do so.