According to The Athletic’s Greg Auman, the Bucs and offensive tackle Josh Wells have agreed to terms on a new contract. The key backup returns after inking a one-year, $1.12 million deal. Wells enters his eighth year in the league and his fourth with Tampa Bay. He’ll compete to re-assume his role as the swing tackle backup to both Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith this season.
Wells was originally an undrafted free agent in 2014 out of James Madison. He spent the first four years of his career in Jacksonville, appearing in 39 games with nine starts. Over the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, Wells has appeared in 45 games with eight starts.
The Bucs backup was pressed into starting duty late last year after Wirfs was sidelined with an ankle injury. Then Wells was subsequently injured a few plays later against the Eagles. He finished the game in pain, allowing one sack. The next week against the Rams in the Divisional Playoffs, Wells gutted it out despite a leg injury which caused him to struggle mightily.
This signing will help the Bucs establish depth on the offensive line. Wells rejoins a unit comprised of Smith and Wirfs, along with center Ryan Jensen, right guard Shaq Mason and re-signed guard Aaron Stinnie. Wells will likely compete for a roster spot with newly signed offensive lineman Fred Johnson. Center Robert Hainsey, guards Sadarius Hutcherson and John Molchon and utility lineman Nick Leverett round out the current group.