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Bucs Dip into Free Agency Again for LB Casillas, WR Ogletree

A day after landing coveted S Dashon Goldson, the Bucs used the free agent market again to add former Saints LB Jonathan Casillas and former Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree, among other recent moves


After making a big splash in free agency on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to stay in the pool a while longer.

On Thursday, the Buccaneers landed two more unrestricted free agents: linebacker Jonathan Casillas and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree.  Casillas has played four seasons in New Orleans, logging six starts over the last two years, while Ogletree spent his first four NFL campaigns with Dallas, recording a career-high 32 catches in 2012.

The Buccaneers also announced several other moves relating to the start of the free agency period this week.  RB LeGarrette Blount, a pending restricted free agent, was resigned; defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim was extended a tender offer to secure his restricted free agent status; exclusive rights free agent defensive tackle Corvey Irvin was re-signed; and linebacker Quincy Black was released/failed physical.

Casillas and Ogletree add experience, talent and depth to the Bucs roster and continue the Bucs' aggressive early work in free agency.  On Wednesday, the team landed one of the most coveted players on the market in former San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, who agreed to a four-year deal.

The 6-1, 227-pound Casillas has played in 38 games, logging most of his defensive playing time at weakside linebacker.  He has recorded a total of 85 tackles, three sacks, three passes defensed and two fumble recoveries while also making nine stops on special teams.  One of his career-high four starts in 2011 came against the Buccaneers on Nov. 6, when he set a then-career high with 10 tackles, a mark he broke the following week with 11 stops against Atlanta.

Casillas played in a career-high 14 games last season, starting one and pitching in with 31 tackles and two fumble recoveries.  In 2011, he started five of the 13 games in which he appeared and recorded career highs with 57 tackles and three sacks, the fourth-most on the team.

As a rookie in 2009, Casillas appeared in 11 games with two starts, recording 20 tackles on defense and five on special teams. He played in all three of the Saints' postseason games, recording one tackle on defense and two on special teams.  Casillas originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin in 2009. He was a three-year starter for the Badgers and recorded 246 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, five pass defensed, two interceptions and three blocked punts, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention selection his  final three years.

Like Casillas, Ogletree was originally an undrafted free agent in 2009 who gradually earned more playing time over the past four years.  In Dallas, Ogletree played in 17 games and had just 10 catches in his first two seasons, but he logged his first career start amid 14 games in 2011 and recorded 15 catches.  When the Cowboys' receiving corps struggled with injuries in the early going this past fall, the 6-1, 198-pound Ogletree stepped up in a big way, catching 32 passes for 436 yards and four touchdowns.  Over the first month of the season, he hauled in 17 receptions for 221 yards and two scores.

Overall, Ogletree has played in 46 games and made two starts, recording 57 receptions for 730 yards and four touchdowns. He has also returned 20 kicks for 389 yards on the NFL level.  He played his college ball at the University of Virginia, finishing his Cavalier career with 117 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

Heading into his fourth season, Blount has played in 40 games with Tampa Bay, including 21 starts. In his three seasons with the Buccaneers, Blount has recorded 1,939 rushing yards on 426 carries (4.6 avg.) and 13 rushing touchdowns.  He originally entered the NFL with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and joined the Buccaneers after being claimed off waivers from the Titans.

Te'o-Nesheim played in all 16 games with the Buccaneers this past season, with 14 starts. He took over at right defensive end after Adrian Clayborn's season-ending injury in September and played well, recording 39 tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks, all career highs. His sack total ranked third on the team, and he also logged some snaps at defensive tackle during pass-rushing downs.

The Buccaneers signed Te'o-Nesheim off Philadelphia's practice squad late in 2011. A former third-round pick of the Eagles in 2010, he has started 15 of the 23 games in which he has played, recording 42 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five sacks.

Irvin, originally a third-round pick (93rd overall) of the Carolina Panthers in 2010, played in 12 games with the Buccaneers in 2012.

Black played in 81 games for the Buccaneers, starting 40, all at strongside linebacker.  He recorded 299 tackles, 13 passes defensed, four forced fumbles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, while also contributing 62 special teams tackles. Black entered the league as a third-round selection (68th overall) of the Buccaneers in the 2007 NFL Draft.

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