The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to strengthen their 2019 roster through free agency on Saturday, officially signing veteran offensive guard Earl Watford to a one-year deal on Monday.
Watford (6-3, 300) has played in 55 games with 22 starts since being drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. His arrival in Tampa reunites him with Head Coach Bruce Arians and much of the Cardinals staff on hand during his tenure in Arizona. Watford was a versatile starter under Arians, opening games at both guard spots and at right tackle.
The Buccaneers have four returning starters on their offensive line after signing left tackle Donovan Smith to a new three-year contract and picking up the 2019 option on right tackle Demar Dotson. The team added center Ryan Jensen in unrestricted free agency last year and has made a long-term commitment to left guard Ali Marpet. Watford gives the Buccaneers another option at the open starting right guard spot and a player who can fill in at multiple positions up front.
Watford saw most of his starting action in the 2016-17 seasons. In 2016 he spent much of the season as the right guard for an offense that ranked ninth in the NFL in total yards, then started the last three games at right tackle. In 2017, Watford started nine games between both guard spots. He signed with the Chicago Bears as an unrestricted free agent last offseason but was released near the end of the preseason. He signed with the Cleveland Browns two days later and appeared in 13 games during the 2018 season.
Tampa Bay has been active in free agency since the 2019 league year began on Wednesday. The Buccaneers have added a pair of linebackers in Deone Bucannon and Shaq Barrett as well as a new punter in Bradley Pinion and a speed receiver in Breshad Perriman.