For the third time in the last five days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added a defensive tackle to their 91-man training camp roster. The latest newcomer – former Buffalo Bill Jerel Worthy, signed on Monday afternoon – has a wealth of experience, having played in the NFL since 2012.
To make room for Worthy on the roster, the Buccaneers waived rookie linebacker Shaheed Salmon with an injury designation.
Worthy joins a defensive line that is operating without first-round pick Vita Vea and free agency acquisition Mitch Unrein due to injuries suffered in practice. The Buccaneers also recently waived second-year defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu with an injury designation. The team signed defensive tackle Drew Iddings last Thursday to replace Tu'ikolovatu, then had to waive Iddings with an injury designation on Sunday. The Bucs used the result spot to claim defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles; Reth joined the team in practice on Monday morning.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter recently said that he did not believe any of the team's injured players were in danger of missing regular-season games, but there's no doubt that the team is experiencing some depth issues at defensive tackle, cornerback and offensive line at the midpoint of the preseason.
Worthy (6-2, 298) played most of the last three seasons in Buffalo, seeing his most extensive playing time in 2016, when he appeared in 13 games and contributed 12 tackles. He spent much of the 2014 season on the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad, then started training camp with the Chiefs in 2015 before being waived and claimed by the Detroit Lions, where he spent the balance of the preseason.
A former Michigan State standout, Worthy began his career as a second-round draft pick (51st overall) of the Green Bay Packers in 2012. He had his most productive season as a rookie, appearing in a career-high 14 games and recording 2.5 sacks to go with 14 tackles. He played one more season for the Packers, though he spent much of 2013 on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Green Bay traded Worthy to the New England Patriots in August of 2014.
The Buccaneers originally brought Salmon in as a tryout player in their rookie mini-camp in May. The Bay area native and Samford product performed well enough in that camp to earn a spot on the 91-man roster. He played in the team's preseason opener in Miami but was held out of Saturday's contest due to injury.