The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to whittle away at a list of unrestricted free agents that was once 19 players long. The latest free agents to return to the team are safety Andrew Adams and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, each of whom signed a new one-year contract on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers have also re-signed outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and inside linebacker Kevin Minter while placing the franchise tag on outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett. In addition, the Bucs re-signed tight end Antony Auclair, a potential restricted free agent, and gave new one-year deals to tight end Tanner Hudson and wide receiver Bryant Mitchell, who could have been exclusive rights free agents.
Barrett and Pierre-Paul were obviously top priorities for the Bucs after combining for 28 sacks last year, but Head Coach Bruce Arians has made it clear he wants to keep as much of the team's 2019 defense intact after its second-half surge. Adams started 11 games at safety last season while Nunez-Roches was a part of the Bucs' interior-line rotation that keyed the NFL's top run defense.
Adams (5-11, 205) will head into his third season with the Buccaneers though this will be the first time he's on the roster in the offseason. He first came to Tampa four weeks into the 2018 season after being waived by his original team, the New York Giants. Adams eventually worked his way into the starting lineup, both as a safety and a hybrid linebacker, and played in 13 games with four starts while contributing 36 tackles, four interceptions and nine passes defensed. Against Carolina in Week 13 he joined Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib as the only players in franchise history to intercept three passes in one game.
Adams signed with the Detroit Lions a year ago but was eventually waived prior to the start of the regular season. Though the Buccaneers had a new coaching staff headed by Bruce Arians and new defensive system under Todd Bowles, the team re-signed Adams two weeks into the 2019 campaign. Once again, he worked his way into the lineup and ended up starting more games at safety than anyone other than Jordan Whitehead. Adams ranked sixth on the team with 45 tackles, adding one interception, three passes defensed and a forced fumble.
Nunez-Roches (6-2, 307) played in all 16 games last year and was on the field for a little more than a quarter of the team's defensive snaps. He pitched in with nine tackles, one tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery. Nunez-Roches first joined the Buccaneers in early October of 2018 after three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He appeared in three games in 2018 then re-signed with the team last March.
The Chiefs drafted Nunez-Roches in the sixth round in 2015 and he made the active roster as a rookie, appearing in seven games. Over the next two seasons, he logged 16 starts, including 11 in 2017, and contributed 47 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits.