The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a revised linebacker depth chart, by necessity, on Tuesday, and it only took a couple hours for them to revise it again.
The revision in this case was an addition, as the Buccaneers have signed linebacker Kevin Minter, a sixth-year NFL veteran who logged 44 starts over the last four seasons for the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals. Minter's arrival returns Tampa Bay's linebacking corps to six players, where it stood before Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy landed on injured reserve due to knee injuries sustained on Sunday.
The Buccaneers also made a change in the secondary, signing cornerback De'Vante Harris and waiving cornerback Javien Elliott.
Minter (6-0, 246) first entered the league as a second-round draft out of LSU with the Cardinals in 2013. He played four seasons for Arizona, starting 37 games, including all 32 in 2015-16, and recorded 256 tackles, five sacks, 22 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, four passes defensed and one forced fumble. After recording 81 tackles, 3.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2016, Minter signed with Cincinnati as an unrestricted free agent in March of 2017. After one season in which he started nine of the seven games he played, Minter again signed as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, this time with the New York Jets. The Jets released him at the end of the preseason.
Minter played middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense for the Bengals; prior to that he played inside linebacker in a 3-4 front for the Cardinals. The Buccaneers could use help in that area after the loss of Alexander, who has been their starting middle linebacker since he was drafted in the fourth round, also out of LSU, in 2015. With Alexander done for the season, versatile veteran Adarius Taylor is expected to slide over from the starting strongside spot to replace him, with Devante Bond taking over on the strong side. On the aforementioned revised depth chart, the team did not list a second-string player at middle linebacker.
Harris (5-11, 190) was with the Buccaneers at the start of the season, having been claimed off waivers when he was let go by the New Orleans Saints in the final roster cuts. However, he sustained a hamstring injury leading up to the season opener and was placed on injured reserve, then waived with an injury settlement. Due to that settlement, he was not eligible to re-sign with the Buccaneers until this week.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, Harris made the Saints' roster as a rookie in 2016 and played in 21 games over the next two seasons, with two starts. He recorded 24 tackles and three passes defensed and also played extensively on special teams.
Similarly, Elliott signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He split his rookie season between the practice squad and active roster but was on the active roster for all of 2017 and made the team again this year. In all, he has played in 27 games for Tampa Bay with two starts, contributing 16 tackles and one pass defensed.