In between adding such potential impact players as Beau Allen, Vinny Curry and Mitch Unrein through free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also been working to secure their defensive depth. On Monday, the team officially announced the re-signing of three defenders who spent all or most of the 2017 season on the Bucs' roster: defensive end Will Clarke and linebackers Adarius Glanton and Cameron Lynch.
Those three players returned to the Bucs in slightly different ways. Clarke joined the Buccaneers on a one-year deal before the 2017 season opener after he was released by the Cincinnati Bengals, and thus became an unrestricted free agent on March 14. He was re-signed a day later. Glanton was in line to become a restricted free agent this spring if the Buccaneers extended a qualifying offer to him; instead, he was re-signed before the official start of free agency. Lynch actually played the last month of 2017 with the Los Angeles Rams after he was waived by Tampa Bay, but he became available again when the Rams chose not to give him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent.
All three players signed one-year deals.
Clarke was a productive part of the front line rotation last season, leading the Buccaneers' defensive ends with 2.5 sacks despite playing only 31% of the team's defensive snaps. He was inactive for Tampa Bay's season opener, shortly after his arrival, but then played in the last 15 games and gradually saw his time on the field increase. In addition to the sacks, Clarke contributed 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, five quarterback pressures, one pass defensed and one forced fumble.
Clarke played three seasons in Cincinnati after being selected in the third round of the 2014 draft. In 2016, he pitched in with 4.0 sacks in a rotational roll much like his assignment in Tampa. Overall, he appeared in 35 games for the Bengals and had 22 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two passes defensed.
Glanton was a productive special teams player in 2017 and an important fill-in on defense during injury absences by Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. A broken leg cost him the last two games of the season but he played in the first 14, with four starts, and recorded 26 tackles, one sack, two quarterback pressures and a pass defensed on defense. He also had five kick coverage stops.
Glanton started his career in Carolina in 2014 but came to Tampa in November of 2015 after being released by the Panthers. After a brief stay on the Bucs' practice squad he was promoted to the active roster for the final five games of the season. Glanton also played all 16 games in 2016, primarily on special teams, and had five kick-coverage stops.
This marks the second time that Lynch has made a Rams-to-Buccaneers transition. He began his career as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse with the then-St. Louis Rams in 2015, making the active roster as a rookie and appearing in all 16 games. When the Rams waived Lynch at the end of their 2016 preseason, the Buccaneers quickly signed him, first to their practice squad before an October promotion brought him up to the 53-man roster.
Lynch played in 12 games for the Buccaneers in 2016 and another 11 last year. He had four kick-coverage stops in his first season in Tampa and another five last year, along with a fumble recovery on a punt that led to a Buccaneers touchdown in the team's Week Two victory over Chicago. Lynch was also a special teams standout in his rookie year with the Rams, recording eight tackles.
The Buccaneers waived Lynch on December 2 of last season after a rash of injuries on the offensive line forced the team to add numbers at that position. The Rams swooped in almost immediately to add him to their practice roster, and a promotion to the active roster followed just three days later. He appeared in three games for Los Angeles and added two more special teams stops.