The first round of cuts is looming but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started the week with an addition to the roster, signing former Miami Dolphins running back Patrick Laird on Monday. The Buccaneers had a spot open on the 90-man roster after placing running back Kenjon Barner on injured reserve.
Formerly an undrafted free agent out of California in 2019, Laird played in 37 games for the Dolphins over the past three seasons, starting four of them. He started last season on Miami's practice squad before being promoted back to the active roster, then spent the final month of the campaign on injured reserve after suffering an MCL injury. Laird became a free agent in March when the Dolphins chose not to extend the qualifying offer that would have made him a restricted free agent.
Laird (6-0, 205) has logged 76 carries for 244 yards and one touchdown while adding 36 catches for another 289 yards. He saw his most extensive action as a rookie, starting four of the 15 games in which he played, carrying 62 times for 168 yards and catching 23 passes for 204 yards. A former walk-on at Cal, he ran for 2,008 yards and 14 touchdowns in his collegiate career.
Monday's pair of moves kept the Buccaneers' running back depth at five players and the overall roster at the camp limit of 90. The team will need to trim that roster to 85 players by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the same day it travels to Nashville for a pair of joint practices and a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
Barner was heading into his 10th NFL season and his third in Tampa. He split time in 2020 and 2021 between the active roster and the practice squad, appearing in nine games, primarily as a return man. He returned 19 punts for 122 yards and seven kickoffs for 167 yards in that span.