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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Homecoming! Bucs Reclaim Tim Wright

Ten months after sending tight end Tim Wright to New England in the trade to acquire Logan Mankins, the Bucs have reacquired the promising young player off of waivers.


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Last August, Tim Wright and Logan Mankins crossed paths in an unexpected trade just before the start of the NFL season. Now the two are teammates.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed Wright off waivers from the New England Patriots, who had cut the third-year tight end the day before. To make room on their 90-man offseason roster, the Buccaneers waived first-year tight end Taylor Sloat.

Last year, the Bucs used Wright and a 2015 fourth-round pick to pry six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins away from the Patriots just 12 days before the start of the regular season. Wright was coming off a breakout rookie season in which he had gone from an undrafted wide receiver in the spring to a 54-catch tight end in the fall. In fact, Wright's 54 receptions, 571 yards and five touchdown catches all ranked second on the team to wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

In New England, the 6-4, 220-pound Wright played in 16 games with two starts and contributed 26 catches for 259 yards and six touchdowns. He was more commonly involved in the Patriots' passing attack in the first half of the season, catching 17 of his 26 passes in Games 1-8. Meanwhile, Mankins stepped right into the Buccaneers' starting lineup and opened all 16 games at left guard.

Wright, who played wide receiver at Rutgers before finding a home at a new position in the NFL, has been most impressive around the end zone. With 11 touchdowns on 80 career catches, he has scored once for every 7.27 receptions he has hauled in. That ranks 10th in the NFL over the past two years combined; new teammate Mike Evans is fourth on that list with a touchdown for every 5.67 receptions.

Wright's surprising emergence in 2013 was prompted by a string of injuries to the team's tight ends. Now he rejoins the Bucs' roster at a time when it might have more experienced depth at the position than it has enjoyed in many years. Wright was traded several months after the team spent a high second-round pick on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is likely to develop into the team's top option at the spot. He is joined by Brandon Myers, a 2014 free agency acquisition who has 79 and 47-catch seasons in the NFL under his belt, and Luke Stocker, a former Buccaneer draft pick who impressed with his blocking last fall and has played in 45 pro games.
The return of Wright is yet another example of how Tampa Bay's #1 position on the waiver wire has been almost as important as its pole position in the 2015 draft. Already the Buccaneers have swiped safety D.J. Swearinger, linebacker Khaseem Greene and now Wright off waivers, knowing that no other team could beat them to it. The Buccaneers will stay in the top spot on the waiver wire through the first three weeks of the regular season.

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