The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms with veteran offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus on Monday, a move meant to add depth and NFL starting experience after the knee injury suffered by Demar Dotson. On Tuesday, the team officially completed the transaction, which required an accompanying move to keep the training camp roster at the 90-man limit.
As such, the team has released third-year tight end/fullback Evan Rodriguez. Rodriguez played in one game for the Buccaneers in 2014 after a December promotion from the practice squad. He originally joined the team's practice squad in November after previously seeing action with Chicago in 2012 and Buffalo in 2013.
Though he has NFL experience at both tight end and fullback, the Buccaneers were primarily using Rodriguez at the latter position. The team drafted fullback Joey Iosefa in May and returns last year's starter at the position, Jorvorskie Lane. Bigger backs Mike James and Dominique Brown could also possibly be used as lead blockers.
Cherilus (pronounced SHARE-uh-luss) has played in 104 NFL games with 100 starts over seven NFL seasons. The Buccaneers signed him just days after Dotson went down with an injury in the preseason opener that will keep him out for an indeterminate amount of time.
"[The move was] very important," said Head Coach Lovie Smith. "We have a very good tackle that is down – veteran tackle that is down for a while. I feel like we need to replace him. It was good for us that there was a player like [Cherilus] … available."
The addition of Cherilus and subtraction of Rodriguez led to some shuffling of numbers on the Bucs' roster. Cherilus will wear #78, the same number he donned for the past two seasons in Indianapolis. Tackle Edawn Coughman will move from #78 to #75. And tight end Tim Wright, who wore #81 in his first stint with the Buccaneers, will assume that number again after initially taking #85 upon his return this summer.