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March 16, 2014 @ 5:07 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Continue Free Agent Dealings; Sign Patriots' LB Fletcher

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers front office hasn't slowed down despite it being the weekend, and late Sunday afternoon added Patriots free agent special teams standout and reserve linebacker Dane Fletcher.
With Dekoda Watson now wearing the gold and teal of the Jaguars and Adam Hayward set to suit up in the nation’s capital for the Redskins, the Buccaneers were in need of some depth at the linebacker position.

On Sunday Tampa Bay added Patriots free agent Dane Fletcher who appears will fill the Watson and Hayward role as special teams contributor and backup linebacker. Reports say it is a one-year $1.2 million dollar deal.

According to ESPNBoston.com’s Field Yates, Fletcher played primarily on special teams and in sub defense for New England, logging just over 18 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season.

The 27-year old Montana State product signed as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2010. Fletcher played defensive end in college then made the switch to middle linebacker after entering the NFL. For his career, Fletcher had recorded 81 tackles, four sacks and has forced three fumbles.

Tampa Bay re-signed linebacker Jonathan Casillas prior to the opening of free agency to a one-year contract. The former Saint is expected to head into training camp as Tampa Bay’s starting strongside linebacker. The Bucs will have Mason Foster manning the middle most likely and superstar Lavonte David handling the weakside.


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  • avatar

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  • avatar

    @mjmoody: I'm with you in your analysis. This new coach & GM are trying to fill a ton of holes, & have done a great job. If they can fill CB & WR in free agency, they can certainly take best player available in the draft...or trade down if they get a partner. @EastEndBoy: Not sure we could have expected major upgrades at every position. As you pointed out, there have been at least minimal upgrades with every FA signed (& I believe Verner fits Lovie's scheme better than the $16M guy - I'm sure other posters will disagree). But here's the most positive change: We have some really great coaches...MAJOR upgrades from head coach to EVERY position coach. If these coaches had last year's team, they'd have been much better than 4-12! Obviously, with so many new players as starters, they'll need to learn to emphasize communication & playing together. But I'm excited & feel this team will at least compete favorably with the other teams in our division.
  • avatar

    Well this is George Hicks. I think Tampa is going after a QB now at #7,#10 .plus a 2nd Rd.I think Derrick Carr is the man to learned behind McCown.Plus trade Glennon for a 2nd or 3rd Round pick.This LB pickup is a WIN WIN sistutation.
  • avatar

    We come here to throw stuff against the wall with other fans and see if anything sticks. I mean, we All pay $$ for this site, so we are all fueled by Tampa Football. So here goes--The Bucs' are close to building a D (minus a few CB's) Barth is back, & I hate K's cap hit but we punt well. We've never returned well. Spurlock?? Really?? Whatever. We have built a line that can nurse a rookie. McCown can too, but he can also stand in for 8 games to a season. A season. There are several QB's in the draft that have either knee issues or mechanics issues (Yeah VT I'm looking at you) These guys are 3rd round and lower picks. I hear we have a good QB Coach, and our O Coord is QB friendly. We don't need a guy that can start now. WAAAYY too many teams make that mistake. (RAMS) If we draft a guy to sit and learn, our 7th overall pick is wide open. Mike Evans, meet VJax. Or your favorite guy. It just looks to me, the more we sign guys, the more wide open the draft gets.
  • avatar

    I really like the idea of a big tall receiver, we could do worse that drafting hm.
  • avatar

    My take so far: a lot of small upgrades (Collins for Penn; Smith for Joseph; McCown for Glennon), several depth players that may provide some upgrades and some downgrades (e.g. Hayward and Watson we're pretty good ST players too), one downgrade but not massive (Revis to Verner) given Verner's Tampa-2 abilities, and one clear upgrade (Johnson for DTN). I like the moves but I don't really see a huge change in ability overall (excepting the Johnson move). I think our offense at the moment looks hauntingly familiar from an ability perspective. BUT two things are giving me hope for 2014 - 1) the draft and the fact that we have Lovie in the room instead of Schiano to evaluate talent, and 2) the change of scheme and play calling from the Schiano regime to Lovie/ Frazier/Tedford. Like the FA moves...hopeful of the draft....love the management moves = significant improvement in 2014....but to make a real move we'll need a real QB I'm afraid....let's see if we can get one at #7!
  • avatar

    Read in another article that Fletcher also played FB. With Lorig allowed to walk he might be used as a FB when needed. IMO that's why they paid so much for him as they will use him as a backup LB, ST and FB. LI-LO are doing a fine job not only finding players but also building a sound, versatile TEAM.
  • avatar

    P.S. Your online clock does not match mine! I've got 2:30 AM
  • avatar

    Mark how about this scenario? ..... By the time the draft comes the Bucs have squared away the WR situation to their satisfaction. They are able to trade down a few places and they have a choice between OLB Khalil Mack (Buffalo) and ILB C. J. Mosley (Alabama). Then they are able to trade back up to the late first round (or if lucky the early second round). So then they have a choice between QB Derek Carr (Fresno State) and Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois). ..... Wouldn't it be great to see the following linebackers line up, say by mid-season? === SLB Mason Foster, MLB C. J. Mosley and WLB Lavonte David. === Sweeet! Maybe the could get a speedster like WR Robert Herron (Wyoming) in the mid rounds somewhere. ..... Last thought: I am fascinated by what the new regime has done so far. Much to think about.
  • avatar

    Fletcher got better than backup money and was a MLB with the Pats as well as a ST Ace. If he can cover passing lanes as well as man the middle against runs and blitz as well, he sounds like a good cover two MLB to me. If yes, Foster needs to go back to his natural position in college of SLB. This could be a real important pickup. Remember Quarles was an exceptional MLB at about 225 lbs. And previously was a ST Ace for the Bucs. Dejavu! If not then the Bucs need to pursue the 6'8" MLB from Michigan State that should remind Lovie of Urlacher in the draft and can cover passes, tackle from sideline to sideline, and stop running backs in their tracks and knock down passes too just like Urlacher, and helped win the Rose Bowl this year as well as beat Ohio State.
  • avatar

    Hey Mark, how about talking a little about the Dev Carrs in the D.B. room, who might be a player to watch? Also I think Banks might be perfect for this scheme. I can see some similarity between him and Brian Kelly.
  • avatar

    Licht mentioned he wanted to go Best Player Available throughout the draft - so I suspect he is still shopping, we will see if he can get in the way of a CB and WR and get his way.
  • avatar

    We.actually got something from NE. This could be a good under the radar signing that we need. Going to be hard finding a CB and WR from FA unless Licht has some magic left.
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