The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed offensive tackle Josh Wells on Monday, 12 days after the eighth-year veteran had become an unrestricted free agent. This marks the third straight offseason in which Wells has signed a new contract with the Buccaneers after originally arriving in Tampa just before the start of the 2019 regular season.
Wells has served as the team's primary swing tackle over the past three seasons, making eight starts in that span and seeing action on both the right and left sides. In 2021, Wells also featured in the team's jumbo offensive packages as an eligible sixth linemen, seeing more than 100 snaps in that capacity. All five of his starts in 2021 came in that role, but he also opened the Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at right tackle in place of the injured Tristan Wirfs.
In 2020, Wells started one regular-season game at left tackle in place of Donovan Smith. In 2019, he opened one game at each tackle spot, filling in once for Smith and once for right tackle Demar Dotson. Wells originally signed with the Buccaneers on September 10 in 2019 after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Wells played his first five NFL seasons in Jacksonville after signing as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison in 2014, including a 2015 campaign spent on injured reserve. He started nine games over the 2017-18 seasons, including five at left tackle in 2018 after Cam Robinson suffered a torn ACL. In all, he has appeared in 84 regular-season contests with 17 starts. He has also played nine postseason games, starting one.
Wells is the eighth player and third offensive lineman on the Bucs' original list of potential unrestricted free agents to re-sign with the team before or after the start of the new league year on March 16. The other seven are cornerback Carlton Davis, running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Will Gholston, wide receiver Chris Godwin, center Ryan Jensen, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and guard Aaron Stinnie. Godwin originally received the franchise tag before the start of free agency but later signed a new multi-year deal with the team.