Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden said Monday that the Buccaneers were actively pursuing potential trades around the National Football League.
Shortly before the NFL trade deadline came and went at 4:00 p.m. ET Tuesday, the Buccaneers acquired a player, but it wasn’t through a trade.
Instead, the Buccaneers went the route of free agency, signing cornerback Phillip Buchanon to a one-year, $585,000 contract, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
Buchanon, who was released by the Houston Texans on Monday, originally entered the NFL with the Oakland Raiders as a 2002 first-round pick. Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, who worked for the Raiders as a senior assistant at that time, had a hand in drafting Buchanon out of Miami.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Buchanon was traded from Oakland to Houston in 2005 in exchange for a second- and third-round pick in the 2006 draft.
However, Buchanon wasn’t productive in Houston and had trouble staying healthy. In fact, he played in just 14 regular season games and failed to notch an interception during his short tenure with the Texans.
Buchanon’s best season came in 2003 when he recorded a career-high six interceptions and returned two of them for touchdowns. During his five-year career, Buchanon has recorded 11 interceptions and scored four touchdowns off of those picks.
The Buccaneers added Buchanon to their roster two days after making CB Brian Kelly inactive for Sunday’s game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kelly has missed three of Tampa Bay’s five regular season games due to a degenerative turf toe injury. Gruden said Kelly would be “doubtful” for this Sunday’s game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles and may require surgery to fix the lingering foot injury.
While CB Brian Kelly's foot injury continues to linger, Buchanon might have been added to Tampa Bay's roster to return punts for the Bucs since Mark Jones is suffering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of last Sunday's game.
Buchanon is an experienced return specialist. He’s averaged 10.5 yards per punt return and returned three touchdowns since entering the league in 2002.