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Free Agent Signings Bolster Bucs' Depth Chart

Tampa Bay announced the signing of five more free agents at five different positions on Tuesday: K Nate Kaeding, DT Derek Landri, RB Brian Leonard, DE George Selvie and WR Steve Smith


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the addition of five more veteran free agents on Tuesday, boosting depth at a variety of positions across the depth chart.  Signing on with the Buccaneers were kicker Nate Kaeding, defensive tackle Derek Landri, running back Brian Leonard, defensive end George Selvie and wide receiver Steve Smith.

Kaeding, Landri, Leonard and Smith all became unrestricted free agents on March 12; Selvie essentially was in the same category after not receiving a tender offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Buccaneers have steadily been adding to their 2013 offseason roster since the opening of free agency three weeks ago.  After striking quickly to acquire All-Pro safety from the 49ers on March 13, the team then signed linebacker and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree the following day.  Subsequent additions from the free agent market included Jameis Winston and the five players signed on Tuesday.

Now entering his 10th NFL season, Kaeding (6-0, 187) has an excellent career field goal rate of 86.2%  He spent the majority of the previous nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers, making 87% of his field goals (181 of 210) over 115 games from 2004-12.  Kaeding, who was limited to one game due to injury in 2011, started last season in San Diego but was released after three games despite making all seven of his field goal attempts.  He later played in two games for the Miami Dolphins.  Kaeding's most prolific season came in 2009, when he made 32 of 35 field goal attempts (a career-best 91.4%) and 50 of 51 extra point tries for a total of 146 points.  That league-leading point total sent him to his second Pro Bowl (also 2006) and earned him first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors.  Kaeding originally entered the league as a third-round draft pick (#65 overall) of the Chargers out of Iowa in 2004.

The 6-2, 290-pound Landri comes to the Buccaneers after two seasons in Philadelphia.  He began his career in Jacksonville, playing three seasons for the Jaguars after being selected out of Notre Dame with a fifth-round pick in the 2007 draft.  He was waived late in the 2009 season by the Jaguars and claimed by the Carolina Panthers, for whom he became a starter in 2010.  Overall, Landri has played in 79 NFL games with 23 starts, contributing 121 tackles, eight sacks, six passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.  All 23 of his starts have come in the last three years, including seven last season with the Eagles and all 16 with Carolina in 2010.  Landri's top campaign came in 2010, when he amassed 43 tackles and three sacks for the Panthers.

Like Landri, Leonard (6-1, 230) was drafted in 2007, going to the St. Louis Rams in the second round (#52 overall).  He played his college ball at Rutgers under current Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano.  Leonard has been both a lead blocker and a ballcarrier throughout his six years in the NFL, which include two seasons with the Rams (2007-08) and the last four with Cincinnati.  Overall, he has carried the ball 174 times for 646 yards and caught 113 passes for 814 yards and one touchdown.  After rushing for a career-best 303 yards on 86 carries as a rookie, Leonard spent much of the 2008 season on injured reserve and was traded to the Bengals in May of 2009.  He played in 55 games over the next four seasons, recording 336 yards on 86 carries (3.9 avg.) and catching 83 passes.

Selvie, a Pensacola native who played his college football at the nearby University of South Florida, comes to the Buccaneers after a season and a half in Jacksonville.  A two-time first-team All-American at USF and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, the 6-4, 270-pound pass-rusher was drafted by St. Louis in the seventh round in 2010.  He played in all 16 games as a reserve during his rookie season, contributing 1.5 sacks and 13 tackles, but was waived just prior to the 2011 season.  He was claimed off waivers by the Panthers and saw action in four games for Carolina before being released and then signed by Jacksonville in November.  Last season, Selvie made the Jaguars' regular-season roster and appeared in nine games, recording 10 tackles and one sack.

The 6-0, 195-pound Smith played the 2012 season in St. Louis after opening his career with the New York Giants (2007-10) and spending one season (2011) in Philadelphia.  A second-round draft pick (#51 overall) by the Giants out of USC in 2007, Smith was limited to five games and eight catches by a hamstring injury in his rookie season but became a big part of the offense in the postseason as New York captured the Lombardi Trophy.  Smith had five catches in the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory over New England.  After emerging as the team's third receiver in 2008, with four starts and 57 receptions, Smith took over the lead role in the Giants' passing attack in 2009, setting a franchise record with 107 receptions.  After turning those 107 catches into 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns, Smith played in his first Pro Bowl.  After injuries limited him to nine games in 2010, Smith signed with the Eagles in August of 2011.  He played in nine games for Philly and contributed 11 catches before landing on injured reserve.  Smith signed with the Rams as an unrestricted free agent last spring and ended up playing in nine games and pitching in with 14 receptions for 131 yards.  Overall, his career totals in 64 games include 245 receptions for 2,641 yards and 12 touchdowns.

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