With their cornerback position continuing to be in flux from week to week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have included veteran corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson on their list of protected squad players in Week 13. The Buccaneers' protection list is the same as it has been the last two weeks: Wreh-Wilson, kicker Jose Borregales, tight end Darren Fells and wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
Tampa Bay's latest concern in the secondary is the shoulder injury that starting cornerback Jamel Dean suffered in Indianapolis in Week 12. Head Coach Bruce Arians said on Monday that Dean escaped any structural damage but the team would have to wait until later in the week to see if he was available to play against Atlanta on Sunday. A ninth-year veteran who began his NFL career in Tennessee, Wreh-Wilson played for the Falcons the previous five seasons and appeared in 43 games with three starts. His career totals include 132 tackles, four interceptions and 28 passes defensed.
The option to protect a limited number of practice squad players from being signed away by other teams was one of a number of new rules adopted regarding the practice squad in 2020 to give teams more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The NFL elected to keep those rules in place for 2021.
Each week, a team can submit a list of up to four players on its practice squad that other teams are prohibited from signing to their active rosters. In most weeks, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day. No players are protected for close to two days following a game, so every practice squad player in the league still has an opportunity each week to sign with another team's active roster. The Buccaneers recently saw wide receiver Jaydon Mickens get signed off their practice squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Borregales, a rookie signed as an undrafted free agent out of Miami, has been protected for each of the Buccaneers' last 11 games. He presumably serves as insurance should veteran kicker Ryan Succop become unavailable for any reason late in a game week. Fells and Perriman have been regulars on the protection list, too, since signing with the Buccaneers on November 10. Perriman has also been elevated to the game day roster twice, while Fells has been elevated once.