When the new league year begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, there will be a relatively short list of Tampa Bay Buccaneers who become free agents.
The Buccaneers scratched four more names of that list of potential free agents on Monday by re-signing defensive ends Larry English and Lawrence Sidbury, tight end Luke Stocker and linebacker Jason Williams. All four would have become unrestricted free agents on Tuesday; instead, Stocker agreed to a three-year deal while the other three inked one-year pacts.
With cornerback Michael Jenkins re-upping last week, the Bucs have cut their original list of pending free agents nearly in half, with time remaining before Tuesday's deadline to get additional deals done.
The quartet of players brought back into the fold on Tuesday – or, more accurately, re-signed before they could leave the fold – includes three defenders who are fairly new to the team. English came to the team midway through the 2014 preseason after being released by the team that originally drafted him in the first round in 2009, the San Diego Chargers. Williams and Sidbury were added during the season, on December 8th and 17th, respectively. Stocker has spent his first four seasons with the Buccaneers after being drafted in the fourth round in 2011.
English (6-2, 255) saw action in 12 games for the Buccaneers last season, primarily as a reserve although he did make one start at right end when Michael Johnson was out with an injury. English contributed 12 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble in 2014 and during his NFL career has played 64 games with 10 starts and recorded 92 tackles, 12.0 sacks, two passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
The 6-3, 269-pound Sidbury (6-3, 269) got into just one game with the Bucs last season after his December arrival, picking up one tackle. A fourth-round pick by the Falcons in 2009, he spent four seasons in Atlanta and registering 14 tackles, 5.0 sacks and one fumble recovery. He spent the 2013 campaign on injured reserve in Indianapolis and then went to training camp with the Houston Texans last year.
In his four seasons with the Buccaneers, Stocker (6-5, 253) has played in 45 games and started 29, catching 35 passes for 298 yards and one touchdown. Last year, he caught seven passes for 41 yards but offered his greatest value as a lead blocker when the Buccaneers suffered a series of injuries to other fullbacks and tight ends on the roster.
The 6-1, 245-pound Williams proved his worth on special teams immediately upon joining the Buccaneers roster last December. He played in the final three games of the season and turned in three kick-coverage tackles to bring his career total in that category to 30. Originally a third-round draft selection (69th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2009 NFL Draft, Williams has played in 60 career games, making four starts and recording 34 tackles, two forced fumbles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.