The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to add players during free agency. On Friday, the team agreed to terms with former New England defensive back Eugene Wilson on a one-year deal worth $1.8 million, including $500,000 in guaranteed money, according to several published reports.
Wilson had visited One Buccaneer Place on March 2, just three days after the start of free agency and had drawn interest from other teams. The 27-year DB played safety for the Patriots and has notched 10 career interceptions since entering the NFL in 2003 as a second-round draft pick out of Illinois.
Despite his recent experience at safety, the Bucs plan on playing Wilson at cornerback, which was his natural position in college. In fact, that is the primary reason why he joined the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has a need at that position due to the fact that long-time starter Brian Kelly bought out the final year of his contract and signed with Detroit, and the fact that Ronde Barber will turn 33 in April and Phillip Buchanon is in the final year of his contract.
"He's a natural to be cross-trained at both positions," Bucs secondary coach Raheem Morris told PewterReport.com. "He has experience at safety but he entered the league as a cornerback. We view his situation like T-Jack's from a year ago. We can play [Wilson] wherever we want, but we have a need at cornerback [with the departure of Kelly]. But when Kalvin Pearson left us, it also opened up a roster spot at safety. We like Wilson's versatility."
After missing just one game during the first three seasons of his career, Wilson has only started 10 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.
Tampa Bay also addressed the cornerback situation this offseason by re-signing dime back Sammy Davis to a one-year deal. The Bucs appear to be set at the safety position with Jermaine Phillips, Tanard Jackson, Sabby Piscitelli and Will Allen under contract in 2008.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org