The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Saturday began with a trip to the movies and ended with a washed-out evening practice, but in between the team made moves to shore up a position on the roster recently hit by injuries.
Late Saturday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of unrestricted free agent defensive tackle John McCargo, a former first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills. That came on the heels of an injury to defensive lineman E.J. Wilson on Thursday that will cost Wilson the remainder of the 2011 season. Wilson has been waived/injured by the Buccaneers and, assuming he is not claimed off waivers, will revert to Tampa Bay's injured reserved list.
The Buccaneers have recently made use of the "second wave" of free agency in this most unusual of NFL offseasons, and coincidentally two straight acquisitions have been former Bills. Tampa Bay also signed unrestricted free agent cornerback on Monday; McCargo and Youboty were both drafted by Buffalo in 2006. Nearly 450 players became unrestricted free agents when the new collective bargaining agreement was finalized on July 25 and, after an initial flurry of signings and re-signings, many veteran players remain available.
McCargo was the 26th overall selection in the 2006 draft, the Bills' second choice in the first round after the team took safety Donte Whitner with the eighth pick. In his five seasons in Buffalo, McCargo played in 40 games with one start, contributing 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and five passes defensed.
A former standout at North Carolina State, McCargo saw his most extensive playing time in 2007, when he played in all 16 games and recorded 29 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four passes defensed. His rookie season and the 2008 campaign were cut short by injuries.
Under new defensive coordinator George Edwards, the Bills switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 front in 2010 and McCargo was active for just one game. The Buccaneers will employ the 6-2, 307-pound McCargo as a defensive tackle in their 4-3 base scheme.
Wilson sustained a season-ending Achilles heel injury on Thursday against the New England Patriots. He had impressed the coaching staff during training camp since moving inside from his original defensive end position. Wilson first joined the Buccaneers last November after he spent half of his NFL rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks, appearing in two regular season games. The Seahawks selected Wilson out of North Carolina in the fourth round in 2010.
The Buccaneers had to forego practice late Sunday afternoon due to the inclement weather, but they still conducted a variety of meetings indoors. The team has moved its Sunday practice from the afternoon into the morning in hopes of beating another round of thunderstorms.