The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former Green Bay Packers safety Kentrell Brice to a one-year deal on Monday as they continued to add pieces to what will be a new-look defense in 2019.
Brice (5-11, 200) comes to Tampa after three seasons in Green Bay in which he appeared in 36 games and made 14 starts, including 10 last season. He made the team as an undrafted rookie out of Louisiana Tech in 2016, playing in all 16 games in his first season. Injuries cut his second campaign short but he returned last year to play in 14 contests and record 50 tackles, one sack and two passes defensed. In all, he recorded 91 stops, one tackle for loss, one sack, one interception and six passes defensed with Green Bay.
Brice became a free agent last week when the Packers chose not to extend a tender offer to him after his third season. Though he did not technically fall into the category of "unrestricted free agency" for the purposes of the compensatory pick system, he was free to sign with any team.
The Buccaneers return two young safeties who started much of last season in Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead but did not have significant depth at that position. Safety Andrew Adams was not tendered and left for the Detroit Lions while Chris Conte and Josh Shaw remain unrestricted free agents. Brice joins a group that also includes second-year player Isaiah Johnson (currently an exclusive rights free agent) and potentially M.J. Stewart if he does indeed convert from cornerback, where he played as a rookie in 2018.
Brice is the sixth player from another team that Tampa Bay has signed since free agency started last Wednesday, and the third defender on that list. The Buccaneers previously inked linebackers Deone Bucannon and Shaq Barrett. Under new Head Coach Bruce Arians and Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles, the team is trying to improve a defense that finished 27th in yards allowed and 31st in points allowed in 2018. Bowles has traditionally coordinated a 3-4 base defense but has shown quite a bit of versatility with his packages and schemes.