The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed a hole in their backfield on Monday night when they signed running back Derrick Ward formerly of the New York Giants. ProFootballTalk.com reported that the contract was for four years and worth a total of $17 million. Ward would receive $6 million guaranteed in the first year, with $9.25 million in the second season, and $13 million over the first three years of the contract.

Ward rushed for 1,025 yards (5.1 avg.) and five touchdowns while catching a career-high 41 passes (9.4 avg.) and one touchdown in 2008.

The 5-foot-11, 228-pound Ward has carried the ball 342 times for 1,750 yards (5.1 avg.) and five touchdowns and caught 69 passes for 576 yards (8.3 avg.) and one score during his five-year career with the Giants. He has spent most of his career playing behind running backs Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs.

Ward also has return experience on special teams. He has averaged 23.1 yards per kickoff return and scored one touchdown on 40 attempts.

The Bucs, who released RB Warrick Dunn on Feb. 25, have also expressed interest in trading for Raiders RB Michael Bush. Last season starting running back Earnest Graham missed the final six games with an ankle injury. He is expected to be completely healthy by training camp.

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