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Bucs Add Mitch Unrein to D-Line

Posted Mar 16, 2018

Tampa Bay needed help up front and found some in free agency with former Bear Mitch Unrein, who had 2.5 sacks in 2017 and has also been a useful player on offense at times

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Mitch Unrein, who has been a big part of the Chicago Bears' rotation the last three seasons. He should have the same role in Tampa, providing the Buccaneers with some much-needed help up front.

Unrein, who previously played for Denver and San Diego before joining the Bears in 2015, has started 17 games over the past two seasons in Chicago, playing defensive end in a 3-4 front. He primarily played defensive tackle during his first four seasons (2011-14) with the Broncos. Last season was perhaps his most productive yet, as he recorded 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 12 games and eight starts.

The Bucs went into free agency with a clear need on the defensive line. The defensive tackle spot was thinned by the release of Chris Baker and the start of free agency, with Clinton McDonald and Sealver Siliga becoming free agents. The team needs more pressure off the edge, as well, after recording a league-low 22 sacks in 2018.

Unrein (6-4, 299) first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming with the Houston Texans in 2010. He landed in Denver in 2011 and, over the next four seasons played in 54 games with three starts. The San Diego Chargers signed Unrein in 2015 but released him in mid-September and he was quickly picked up by the Bears. Over the next three seasons he played in 39 games with 21 starts and contributed 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

Unrein has also seen action on offense with all of his former teams, playing fullback. His first snap in that role happened to come against the Buccaneers in 2012, and he caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning.