The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed eight players to futures contracts,
including former Tennessee Titans third-round pick LB Rennie Curran.
Although the start of NFL free agency doesn’t begin until March, the Buccaneers have signed eight players to future contracts. Several of Tampa Bay’s new players spent some time on the team’s practice squad in 2011. Each of the free agent signees was signed to a two-year deal through 2013.
Wide receiver Ed Gant spent the entire year on the practice squad after starring in the preseason, catching five passes for 164 yards, including a 96-yard touchdown against Washington.
Tight end Colin Franklin also spent much of the year on the practice squad and was even signed to the active roster for a couple of weeks due to injuries to rookie Luke Stocker. Offensive tackle Chris Riley was added to Tampa Bay’s practice squad on October 5 when Miami signed tackle Will Barker off the Bucs’ practice squad.
Quarterback Brett Ratliff was signed to the practice squad on December 6, while offensive tackle Mike Ingersoll was added to the practice squad on December 13 and linebacker Mike Balogun was signed to the practice squad on December 19.
Gant, Franklin, Riley, Ratliff, Ingersoll and Balogun were all re-signed to future contracts for the upcoming season and 2013.
Two new additions to the Buccaneers are punter/kicker Jake Rogers and linebacker Rennie Curran, a former third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2010 (97th overall). Curran may be the most intriguing signing as he had an extremely productive career at Georgia before leaving for the NFL as a junior.
Curran, who was a team captain at Georgia, played in just nine games in two seasons with Tennessee, totaling seven tackles before being released on September 2, 2011. He amassed 298 tackles, 34 QB pressures, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during his Bulldogs career.
The knock on Curran is his size. He is listed at 5-foot-11, 230 pounds and there aren’t a lot of linebackers in the NFL that have had a good deal of success with such a short stature outside of Redskins linebacker (London Fletcher 5-10, 245), former Cowboy Dexter Coakley (5-10, 236), former Dolphin Zack Thomas (5-11, 242), ex-Falcons legend Jessie Tuggle (5-11, 232) and former Saints and Panthers Pro Bowler Sam Mills (5-9, 229).
The Buccaneers linebacking corps was one of the weakest units on the team in 2011, and Geno Hayes, a three-year starter at weakside linebacker, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. The addition of Curran could possibly bolster the unit depending on how well he competes in training camp.
Along with Curran and Balogun, Tampa Bay currently has seven linebackers on its roster, including Mason Foster, Quincy Black, Jacob Cutera, Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson.
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