The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed guard Alex Cappa on injured reserve on Friday due to the fractured ankle he suffered in the team's Wild Card win at Washington last Saturday. To take Cappa's place on the active roster and restore depth to the team's interior offensive line, the Buccaneers have re-signed eighth-year veteran guard Earl Watford.
Cappa, who started all 17 games during the regular season plus the Wild Card contest at right guard, will miss the remainder of the season. Players must spend a minimum of three games on injured reserve before they are eligible to return. In his second season as a starter, Cappa was part of an offensive line that finished second in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass play and helped the Buccaneers' offense rank third in scoring with 30.8 points per game.
"[He's] one of the tough guys we've had on our team," said Brady. "We've had a really great group up front, [including] guys who have filled in at different times. 'Cap' has been there really the whole year, had a tremendous year. [He's] a tough, hard-nosed football player."
Watford spent the entire 2019 season with the Buccaneers, appearing in 15 games with four starts. Three of those starts came at right guard in place of an injured Cappa. Watford, who was originally a fourth-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, also played in 43 games with 21 starts under current Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians from 2014-17. Watford spent the 2018 season with the Cleveland Browns, appearing in 13 games.
"He can walk in any play four positions for us," said Arians of Watford. "[We'll] just get him back in a little bit of football shape; he stayed in pretty good condition. Just like [with] Ted Larsen – guys that have been in this system for a while, veteran players – when you lose a guy, you try to look for veteran players rather than young guys who might not be ready."
Third-year lineman Aaron Stinnie will start in Cappa's place in Sunday's Divisional Playoff game at New Orleans. It will be Stinnie's first NFL start.