Two of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers protected practice squad players in Week Three are the same as last week, and two are new.
Tight end Deon Yelder is the only player who has been on the protection list in each of the first three weeks, but he has been joined the past two weeks by rookie kicker Jose Borregales. Getting that designation for the first time are cornerback Pierre Desir and safety Troy Warner.
The option to protect 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 a normal week with a Sunday game, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day. No players are protected on Monday or on Tuesday before the deadline, so every practice squad player will still have opportunities to sign elsewhere, even with the protected spots.
The Buccaneers have protected a cornerback in each of the last two weeks after losing starter Sean Murphy-Bunting to injured reserve. In Week Two it was first-year player Herb Miller, who has since been released from the practice squad. The Buccaneers signed Desir to the practice squad on September 13 and added cornerback Rashard Robinson to that unit on Tuesday. Both Desir and Robinson have regular-season starting experience in the NFL.
All of the 16 players on the Buccaneers' practice squad are eligible to be elevated to the active roster for game day. Teams are allowed to elevate up to two players for each game, which the Buccaneers did in Week One but not in Week Two. Additional players can be elevated to take the spot of players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Buccaneers have one player from their active roster on that list in inside linebacker Kevin Minter.