The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found some experienced depth for their interior offensive line.
On Thursday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of former Arizona Cardinals center A.Q. Shipley, who was an unrestricted free agent in 2020. Shipley started 51 games over five seasons with the Cardinals, including 48 over the last four campaigns. He spent 2018 on injured reserve but otherwise started every game in the other three seasons in that span. Prior to joining the Cardinals, Shipley played 45 games with 19 starts for Indianapolis and Baltimore from 2012-2014.
The Buccaneers went into training camp with three returning starters in the middle of their line in guards Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa and center Ryan Jensen. However, the six other interior linemen on the depth chart have little combined experience, including two NFL regular-season starts, both by backup center Anthony Fabiano. Four of those six players have yet to play in a regular-season game. In contrast, the Bucs top two reserves at offensive tackle, Joe Haeg and Josh Wells, have 107 games and 46 starts between them.
Five of Shipley's eight years in Arizona were spent with current Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians. He started all 32 games during Arians' last two years at the Cardinals' helm (2016-17). Shipley first signed with Arizona in March of 2015.
Shipley first joined the NFL in 2009 as a seventh-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, after he played his college ball at Penn State. He spent his entire rookie season on Pittsburgh's practice squad, then moved across state to Philadelphia and spent all of 2010 on the Eagles' practice squad. After sitting out in 2011, Shipley signed on with the Colts and made the active roster to start the season. After going back to the practice squad for two weeks, he returned to the 53-man roster in October and eventually logged 14 games played with five starts.
In May of 2013, the Colts traded Shipley to the Ravens and he ended up playing all 16 games with nine starts in his one season in Baltimore. After he was waived in the final cuts in 2014, the Colts put in a claim and brought him back to Indianapolis for one more season, in which he once again made five starts at center.
In addition to his reunion with Arians, Shipley will also see a familiar face on the Bucs' offensive line. Jensen, Tampa Bay's starting center the last two seasons, was also a reserve lineman with the Ravens in 2013 after Baltimore drafted him in the sixth round that spring.