The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have rung in the new year with a handful of roster moves aimed at next season.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers announced the signings of eight players to reserve/future contracts for 2020. These players will be on the team's 90-man offseason roster when the new league year begins on March 18.
All but one of those eight players signed to future contracts were on the Buccaneers' practice squad when the 2019 season ended. Practice squad contracts immediately expire when a team's season comes to an end. The eight players signed are:
- DE Quinton Bell
- C Anthony Fabiano
- S Deiondre' Hall
- DL Jeremiah Ledbetter
- TE Jordan Leggett
- CB Herb Miller
- T Brad Seaton
- RB Aca'Cedric Ware
Three players the Buccaneers signed to reserve/future contracts a year ago ended up on the 53-man roster to start the 2019: outside linebacker Demone Harris, running back Dare Ogunbowale and long-snapper Zach Triner. Ogunbowale and Triner each played in all 16 games. Outside linebacker Patrick O'Connor, another 2019 reserve/future signing, started the season on the practice squad but got a midseason promotion to the active roster.
Half of the eight players signed to reserve/future contracts have previous regular-season NFL experience: Fabiano, Hall Ledbetter and Leggett. Fabiano played in nine regular season games between his 2016 rookie season in Cleveland and the following year with the New York Jets, making one start for each team. Hall got into 10 games over two seasons (2016-17) with the Chicago Bears and played another 13 with Philadelphia in 2018. Ledbetter appeared in all 16 games for the Detroit Lions in his 2017 rookie season and also got into one contest with the Buccaneers in 2018. Leggett got into 15 games with four starts for the New York Jets in 2018 and was on the Bucs' active roster for eight games this past season, though he was inactive each of those weeks.
Hall is the one player on the list who was not on Tampa Bay's practice squad at the end of 2019; he was most recently with the Eagles in training camp last summer. Leggett was on the 53-man roster for most of the second half of the season and Miller only joined the Bucs' practice squad in Week 16. The other five were fixtures on the Bucs' practice squad since at least midseason. Seaton was the only one to spend the entire season with that crew but Fabiano, Ledbetter and Ware were all with the Buccaneers for the last 10 games of the season and Bell for the last eight.
Bell (6-3, 235) was a rookie in 2019, coming into the league as a sixth-round draft pick (230th overall) of the Oakland Raiders. He spent the first six weeks of the regular season on Oakland's practice squad.
Bell played collegiately at Prairie View A&M, first as a wide receiver for three seasons before he switched to defensive end as a senior. He recorded 7.5 sacks in 2018 and then ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his Pro Day to get on the radar of NFL scouts.
Fabiano (6-4, 303) played his college ball at Harvard and then signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 but ended up on the Browns' practice squad to start his rookie season. He was later promoted to the active roster in October and again in December and got into four games with one start. Fabiano played in 32 games during four seasons, seeing action at both tackle and guard, before his senior season ended prematurely due to a foot injury.
Hall (6-2, 196) was drafted by Chicago in the fourth round (127th overall) out of Northern Iowa in 2016. He made the active roster as a rookie and played in eight games, recording nine tackles, one interception and one quarterback hit. He made the team again the following year but a hamstring injury wiped out most of that season. Hall was then traded to the Eagles right before the start of the 2018 season and he went on to record four tackles in 13 games played. He was a four-year starter at Northern Iowa, where he racked up 13 interceptions, four of them returned for touchdowns.
Ledbetter (6-3, 295) started his second NFL season on the Bucs' practice squad after being waived by the Lions after their 2018 training camp. He was promoted to the active roster in December and then returned to training camp this past summer in Tampa. Ledbetter drew early praise from Head Coach Bruce Arians for his performance in camp but later suffered a high ankle sprain in mid-August and was eventually waived with an injury designation. He returned to the team as a member of the practice squad on October 22 after three weeks on the same unit in Baltimore. Ledbetter played two seasons at Arkansas after transferring from Hutchinson (KS) Community College. He started 25 of the 26 games he played for the Razorbacks, recording 104 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
Leggett (6-5, 258) was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round (150th overall) in 2017 but he sustained a knee injury in training camp and eventually landed on injured reserve in October without appearing in a game. He made the active roster in 2018 and contributed 14 catches for 114 yards and one touchdown. Leggett was waived by the Jets in May of 2019 and the Buccaneers had the highest priority of the five teams to put in a claim. At Clemson, Leggett played in 44 games over four season and caught 112 passes for 1,598 yards and 18 touchdowns, including 86 catches and 15 scores in 2016.
Miller (6-2, 190) signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic last May. He went to camp with the Chiefs and had a productive preseason with eight tackles, an interception, two passes defensed and a forced fumble. Miller played four seasons at FAU and appeared in 39 games with 102 tackles, two interceptions, 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Seaton (6-9, 330) has yet to play in a regular-season game but has been on an NFL practice squad for almost the entirety of his three seasons in the league. He started out as a seventh-round draft pick with Tennessee out of Villanova and spent a good portion of his rookie campaign on the Titans practice squad before joining the Buccaneers later that year. Seaton then went to his second NFL training camp in Tampa in 2018 but ended up on Cleveland's practice squad for the entire season. This year, it was the reverse as Seaton went to training camp with the Browns but then spent all fall on Tampa Bay's practice squad.
Like Bell and Miller, Ware (6-0, 200) was a rookie in 2019, signing with the Indianapolis Colts in July after going undrafted out of USC. He was the Colts' leading rusher during the preseason with 108 yards on 33 carries, and he also caught nine passes for 36 yards. At USC, Ware played in 46 games and compiled 1,505 yards and 10 touchdowns on 264 carries while also catching 19 passes for 126 yards. Ware and Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones were teammates in the Trojans' backfield from 2015-17.