As is typical, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their first roster moves regarding the 2019 team the day after the 2018 season came to an end. The Buccaneers signed eight players to reserve/futures contracts, all eight of whom had been on the team's practice squad at season's end. Those eight are:
· T Cole Boozer
· WR K.J. Brent
· DE Demone Harris
· G Ruben Holcomb
· DE Farrington Huguenin
· DE Patrick O'Connor
· RB Dare Ogunbowale
· LB Emmanuel Smith
Those moves came at the conclusion of the Bucs' season but before the 2018 league year expires. That actually happens in March, which is why these signings are labelled as "reserve/futures." Though they won't officially take effect until the 2019 league year begins, these contracts allow teams, even ones that are still in the playoffs, to begin shaping their rosters for the new season.
Practice squad contracts expire as soon as the regular season ends, so teams often move quickly to re-sign any such players they would like to continue developing. A number of the players on the above list have only been with the Buccaneers for a short time after being late-season additions to the practice squad, including Brent, Huguenin and Smith.
In contrast, two of the above eight are players who were on Tampa Bay's practice squad from the beginning to the end of the 2018 season, without interruption and have obviously shown value to the team even though they did not get a promotion to the active roster at any point. Those two are Boozer and O'Connor, the latter of whom did play in three regular-season games for the Buccaneers as a rookie in 2017. Two others on the list, Harris and Ogunbowale, had brief stints on the active roster during the 2018 season before returning to the practice squad.
The Bucs acted quickly to re-sign their own practice squad players in part because those men were in the building on Monday as all players reported to headquarters to go through the exit procedures that kick off the offseason. The Buccaneers may sign additional players to reserve/futures deals in the weeks to coming, dipping into the ranks of those who were not affiliated with any NFL team when the season ended. Last year, Tampa Bay gave out three more reserve/futures deals between the first group of signings and the start of the new year. In 2017, they added nine new players in that same span.