With injuries potentially sidelining both of their starting cornerbacks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a move to shore up the position on Tuesday. In the process, they pared down the position at which they had the most depth.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers signed former New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams, who was most recently with the New Orleans Saints in training camp. Williams has played in 49 regular-season game, starting 15, with the Jets and Houston Texans and has 10 career interceptions.
To make room for Williams on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers released fourth-year guard Adam Gettis. The Buccaneers were carrying 10 offensive linemen on the roster, one more than the most common configuration, and Gettis was one of three linemen who were inactive for Sunday's opener in New Orleans. Tampa Bay went heavy at the position to start the season in part because tackle Donovan Smith and guard Evan Smith were recovering from injuries at the end of the preseason, but the team had its starting lineup intact against the Saints.
The Buccaneers also addressed the cornerback position with a switch on the practice squad, signing Jeff Richards and releasing linebacker Victor Azeem. In addition, the team reached injury settlements with linebacker Riley Bullough, linebacker Devante Bond and cornerback De'Vante Harris and released them from the injured reserve list.
Williams (5-11, 196) originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State, signing with the Texans in May of 2014. As a rookie, he had stints on the practice squads in Houston and New York and then got a promotion to the Jets' active roster in late October. New York put him right into the starting lineup, as he opened all eight games he played in and recorded an interception and seven passes defensed.
Williams followed with his best season in 2015, playing in 13 games with three starts and ranking fifth in the NFL with six interceptions. He also broke up 10 passes, forced one fumble and recovered another and had 21 tackles and 1.5 sacks. After another two-interception campaign in 2016, Williams was waived by the Jets in the middle of last season and claimed by the Texans, appearing in 15 games between the two teams. He became an unrestricted free agent this past spring and signed with the Arizona Cardinals but was then released in May and signed by the Saints in August.
Richards, who first had an NFL tryout in 2013 but didn't sign with a team until January of 2017, played his college ball at Emporia State. He joined Carolina on a reserve/future contract in 2017 and went to camp with the Panthers before being waived in the final roster cutdown and claimed by the San Diego Chargers. Richards was briefly on the Chargers' active roster but spent almost the entire season on the practice squad before re-signing with the team in January. He went to camp with the Chargers this summer but was waived on September 1.