The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have turned to a familiar face to add depth to their secondary, agreeing to terms with veteran safety Major Wright on Tuesday. To make room on the 53-man roster, the Buccaneers waived running back Mike James.
Tampa Bay also tweaked its practice squad, re-signing defensive tackle Rodney Coe and releasing defensive end Kourtnei Brown. In addition, wide receiver Louis Murphy has been waived from the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list.
The additions of Wright and Coe come on the heels of late-game injuries to safety Chris Conte and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in Sunday's win over Seattle. Head Coach Dirk Koetter declined to elaborate on the extent of those injuries in Monday's day-after-game press conference. The release of James could indicate that running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims are close to returning from injuries. Rodgers (foot) practiced in a limited fashion last week; Sims (knee) is eligible to come off the injured reserve list a week from Monday.
Wright learned Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith's playbook during the 2016 offseason and training camp. He was waived on August 29 after playing in three preseason games and contributing a pair of tackles.
Wright first joined the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent in April of 2014 after spending his first four seasons with the Chicago Bears. He played in 21 games with nine starts over the next two seasons, recording 77 tackles and four passes defensed before finishing the 2015 campaign on injured reserve. Originally a third-round draft pick out of the University of Florida, he was a starter for the Bears from 2011-13, during which he intercepted nine passes and returned three of them for touchdowns.
James originally joined the Buccaneers as a sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Miami in 2013. He played in 20 games over his first two seasons, rushing 79 times for 332 yards and catching 11 passes for 38 yards, before spending much of the 2015 campaign on Tampa Bay's practice squad. James initially made the Bucs' 53-man roster to start this season but was waived/injured prior to the first game. He subsequently spent time on Detroit's practice squad before returning to the Buccaneers on Nov. 1. He appeared in the last four games, carrying four times for 19 yards and catching four passes for another 22 yards.
Coe previously spent nine weeks on the Bucs' practice squad, as he was signed on Sept. 14 and released on Nov. 18. The 6-3, 305-pound rookie played his college ball at Akron and entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. Brown, who played in four games with the Buccaneers during the 2015 season, was signed to the practice squad two weeks ago.
Murphy began the season on the PUP list as he continued his recovery from a 2015 knee injury. He was unable to practice throughout the 2016 offseason but was hoping to return near midseason. On Oct. 17, Murphy began a 21-day window in which he could practice with the team in anticipation of possibly being activated to the 53-man roster during that time. However, he sustained an unrelated injury shortly after resuming practice and the Buccaneers let the window close without taking him off the PUP list.