The Buccaneers have quietly been active in free agency, with the latest signing being another one of their own in Chris Conte, per multiple reports. Tampa Bay has agreed to a one-year deal with Conte, making him the third unrestricted free agent to re-sign following Doug Martin and Keith Tandy. Conte signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal last year from the Bucs, and this year’s deal is believed to be north of $2 million.
After signing Conte away from Chicago last offseason, the 27-year old proved to be one of the Bucs’ best free agent additions, as he went on to have one of the best years of his career. In 14 games (13 starts), Conte recorded 79 tackles, fourth most on the team, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, and was arguably the Bucs most productive player in the secondary.
While the former Bear had a history of injuries before coming to Tampa – often concussions – he was able to overcome a strained hamstring in time for the start of the regular season and missed just two games with a knee injury in 2015. Considering that former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier called Conte’s health the biggest concern when they signed him, that’s an impressive mark and step in the right direction. Tampa Bay hopes for similar trends in 2016 and an even better year for Conte in Mike Smith’s defense.
Before re-signing with the Bucs, Conte visited the Giants and Saints during his brief free agency tour. With his new contract and the addition of Brent Grimes on Friday, the Bucs state of the secondary pre-draft is beginning to take shape. These moves should give a clearer indication of the team’s priorities come late April.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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