WR Frank Rice of Colorado State was one of 17 undrafted free agents signed on Monday
Early Monday afternoon, the Buccaneers pushed their roster needle almost all the way to full with the addition of 15 rookies who did not get drafted this weekend. A few hours later, they topped off the tank.
Joining the first 15 free agents by agreeing to contract terms were Louisiana Tech TE David Newman and Colorado State WR Frank Rice. A full list of the 17 newest Buccaneers can be found at the bottom of this page.
At this point in the calendar year, NFL teams are allowed to have up to 80 players under contract, but the Bucs have 92 players associated with the team in one way or another. They are not, however, in violation of any rules.
Here's why. The nine players just drafted over the weekend do not count against that 80-man limit until they have signed a contract. In addition, that number of 92 includes six unrestricted free agents (Kevin Dogins, Tyoka Jackson, Frank Middleton, Damien Robinson, Morris Unutoa and Floyd Young) and three restricted free agents (Rabih Abdullah, James Cannida and Brian Kelly) who have yet to re-sign or sign with another team.
Though the restricted free agents actually count against the salary cap right now due to the one-year offers they were tendered before free agency began, they do not count against the roster limit until they sign.
Remember also that the Buccaneers will earn up to eight roster exemptions depending on the amount of playing time the team's eight allocated players receive in the NFL Europe League. Assuming all eight exemptions come through, the team can take 88 players to training camp.
During the spring and the first half of the summer, before training camp, unsigned players such as the team's draftees are allowed to practice with the team. That ends, however, when camp begins, so each of the nine draft choices, the three restricted free agents and any unrestricted free agents that are going to return must sign before being allowed to report. Tampa Bay has not suffered a training camp holdout in years.
The Bucs list of 17 undrafted free agents includes six wide receivers, including Florida A&M's Jacquay Nunnally, who set a Division I-AA record with 318 career regular-season catches. After the two days of drafting concluded on Sunday evening, General Manager Rich McKay admitted that the team had planned to address the matter of wide receiver depth late on the second day. When that plan failed to pan out, the team still found many of its coveted receivers still on the board.
Tampa Bay also made one roster move in the opposite direction on Monday, releasing QB Ted White. The former Howard standout had spent the entire 2000 season on the Bucs' practice squad.
White originally joined the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999. He spent the first 10 weeks of his rookie campaign on the Chiefs' practice squad but was promoted to the 53-man roster for the final six games. After being waived by Kansas City late in August last year, White signed on with the Bucs' practice squad.
Monday's complete college free agent list:
|Andy Aracri||DT||Miami (OH)||6-2||285|
|Ryan Benjamin||LS||South Florida||6-2||240|
|Marq Cerqua||LB||Carson Newman||6-2||223|
|Khori Ivy||WR||West Virginia||6-2||195|
|Robert Kilow||WR||Arkansas State||5-11||167|
|Mike Mackenzie||DT||Colorado State||6-2||269|
|David Newman||TE||Louisiana Tech||6-6||245|
|Jacquay Nunnally||WR||Florida A&M||5-11||200|
|Frank Rice||WR||Colorado State||6-0||175|
|Jamie Wilson||RB||East Carolina||6-1||212|