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Cousins, Fletcher Join Free Agency Influx

Posted Mar 16, 2014

The Buccaneers continued their aggressive free agency run into the weekend, agreeing to terms on one-year deals with former Browns G Oniel Cousins and former Patriots LB Dane Fletcher

After a remarkably busy opening week of free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided not to take the weekend off.

On Sunday, the Buccaneers announced the addition of two more unrestricted free agents: former Cleveland Browns guard Oniel Cousins and former New England Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher. Both agreed to one-year deals.

The arrivals of Fletcher and Cousins brings the total of the Bucs’ first-week shopping spree in free agency to nine players; the previous additions include (in order of arrival) defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, tight end Brandon Myers, cornerback Alterraun Verner, quarterback Josh McCown, tackle Anthony Collins and center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith. The free agency market opened just five days ago, on March 11.

The 6-2, 244-pound Fletcher played defensive end at Montana State but converted to linebacker upon signing with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He quickly became a standout on special teams and also served as a reserve on the Patriots’ defense. One of only two undrafted players to make New England’s roster that year, Fletcher contributed 23 tackles, two sacks, two passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble. Fletcher started five of the 10 games he played in 2011, recording 32 tackles and a forced fumble. After spending 2012 on injured reserve, he returned last season to play in 15 games with one start and contribute 26 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

The 6-4, 315-pound Cousins started four of the 16 games he played in with the Browns last season, under the tutelage of then-Cleveland and now-Buccaneers Offensive Line Coach George Warhop. Overall, he has played six NFL seasons split evenly between Baltimore and Cleveland and has seen action in 59 games with nine starts. Cousins began his career as an undrafted free agent out of UTEP with the Ravens in 2008.