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Bucs Land Deone Bucannon as Free Agency Begins

The Buccaneers clearly made adding S/LB Deone Bucannon a priority in free agency, signing a one-year deal with the former Cardinal after agreeing to terms on Wednesday.


Deone Bucannon adapted and thrived over four seasons under Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals. Now Bucannon will look to thrive again in his second NFL home, but he won't have to adapt too much, as he will be reuniting with Arians in Tampa.

On Wednesday, shortly after the NFL's 2019 free agency period began at 4:00 p.m. ET, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they had agreed to terms with Bucannon on a one-year contract. He officially signed Friday morning. The team had been able to discuss contract parameters with Bucannon's representatives on Monday and Tuesday and thus were able to finalize the deal quickly when the new league year kicked off. The timing makes it clear that Bucannon was a top priority for Arians and the Buccaneers.

A first-round draft pick of Arians' Cardinals in 2014, Bucannon arrived as a safety and quickly became a starter at that position but later transitioned into a hybrid linebacker role. He played his first season under Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles before Bowles left to become the head coach of the New York Jets; that's another reunion as Bowles is once again Arians' defensive coordinator in Tampa. That pairing represents an opportunity for Bucannon, who won't turn 27 until just before the start of the 2019 season, to kick his career back into high gear.

Bucannon (6-1, 211) became an unrestricted free agent after five seasons with the Cardinals, including the last one under Head Coach Steve Wilks. In that span, he started 56 of the 70 games at which he played, including most of the 2016-17 seasons as a linebacker. The Buccaneers have needs at both linebacker and safety heading into 2019; Bucannon is likely to be used in a variety of ways under Bowles' creative direction.

During his five seasons with the Cardinals, Bucannon recorded 404 tackles (311 solo stops), 27 tackles for loss, seven sacks, 14 quarterback hits, seven forced fumbles, two interceptions and 12 passes defensed. In 2015, in which he started all 16 games and began seeing more action as a linebacker, he set career highs in tackles (109), sacks (3.0), forced fumbles (three) and tackles for loss (11).

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