The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Darren Fells to their practice squad on Wednesday and might even put them on the playing field this weekend.
With three of the team's top pass-catchers either ruled out (Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski) or deemed questionable (Chris Godwin) for Sunday's game at Washington, the Buccaneers gave themselves a couple more options by elevating Perriman and Fells from the practice squad on Saturday. Both are experienced veterans who have played in Bruce Arians' offense before, so Arians believes they could contribute immediately despite their short time in Tampa, if needed.
Perriman spent the 2019 season, Arians' first at the helm, with the Buccaneers and contributed a career-high 36 catches for 645 yard and six touchdowns.
"He brings a lot," said Arians on the day of Perriman's arrival. "He's a big guy that can run [and] take the top off just like he did when he was here a couple years ago. It's something we're very familiar with [and] he's familiar with us. It's great insurance and if we need him he could actually play this week if we had to have him."
As for Fells, he saw his first NFL playing time in Arizona under Arians from 2014-16. He started 24 of 38 games in that span, catching 40 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns.
"[He's a] veteran guy I've been very, very aware of and known for a long time," said Arians. "He's a big target, like Gronk. Just a big guy that blocks and can catch."
With Perriman elevated the Buccaneers have six receivers on the active roster for Sunday's game but will be without Brown and could also be missing Godwin. Wide receiver Scotty Miller could also potentially be activated from injured reserve before Sunday.
Fells gives the Buccaneers a third tight end to go with Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, and Arians typically likes to have three players at that position active on game days. The Bucs have continued to do that during Gronkowski's absence with a series of tight end elevations, first Codey McElroy, then Deon Yelder and now Fells. Both McElroy and Yelder have already been elevated the maximum two times, and Yelder was released from the practice squad on Wednesday.
The practice squad elevation option was first introduced in 2020 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It came prior to a number of other rule changes that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon in the summer of 2020 to provide teams with more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The new rule was something of a compromise, as it did not expand the active rosters beyond 53 players but did give teams a few more options on game days.
After the game, Perriman and Fells will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.