The Buccaneers have been very quiet on the free agent front since 2010 NFL free agency began on Friday, March 5, but Tampa Bay still managed to acquire a veteran wide receiver on Monday via trade when the team sent its 2011 six-round pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Reggie Brown. Brown (6-1, 197) who was a second-round selection (35th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft, has played in 72 games and has started 45 contests in his Eagles career.
Tampa Bay had parted ways with starting split end Antonio Bryant, the team's franchise player in 2009, in free agency, leaving a big void in the Bucs receiving corps for starting quarterback Josh Freeman, who is entering his second year. Michael Clayton was a starter at times during the '09 season after signing a five-year, $23 million extension as a free agent, but once again he struggled with drops and is in jeopardy of not making the final roster in 2010 due to his expensive salary and his lack of production.
Brown, who will get the opportunity to compete to become a starter in Tampa Bay with Clayton, Sammie Stroughter, Maurice Stovall and Mark Bradley, was buried on Philadelphia's depth chart behind starters DeSean Jackson, the Eagles' 2008 second-round pick, and Jeremy Maclin, the team's 2009 first-rounder, in addition to backups Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis. Brown has 177 career catches for 2,574 yards (14.5 avg.) with 17 touchdowns, in addition to 11 carries for 68 yards and one score.
In 2006, Brown signed a five-year contract extension with the Eagles. According to ESPN, it included $10 million in guarantees and could have been worth as much as $27 million.
He has battled injuries over the past couple seasons, and caught just nine passes for 155 yards (17.2 avg.) last year. Brown's best season in the NFL came in 2007 when he had a career-high 61 receptions for 780 yards and four touchdowns. His personal best in terms of yardage came the previous year in 2006 when he had 816 yards and eight TDs on 46 catches. The University of Georgia product burst onto the scene in 2005, catching 43 passes for 571 yards and four touchdowns, which led all rookies.
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik had mixed reviews last year in free agency due to the Clayton extension and the signing of Derrick Ward, who was the top running back in free agency in 2009, but disappointed in his first season in Tampa Bay. Yet Dominik's best move last March was trading for tight end Kellen Winslow, who was the team's leading receiver in terms of catches (77), yards (884) and touchdowns (five) while setting the single-season marks for Tampa Bay tight ends in terms of receptions and receiving yardage. Dominik hopes that his good luck with trades continues with the 29-year old Brown.
Because the Bucs traded a 2011 sixth-round pick to the Eagles, Tampa Bay still has 10 picks at its disposal for the 2010 NFL Draft.