In the wake of Josh Freeman's thumb injury, sustained in Saturday night's preseason win over Kansas City, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the market for a young quarterback who had some familiarity with their offensive system.
The obvious answer: Rookie Jevan Snead, who originally signed with Tampa Bay after the 2010 draft and spent the next three months in the team's program. The Buccaneers re-signed Snead on Tuesday, just as they were beginning their preparations for Saturday's game against Jacksonville.
The Buccaneers also announced that they have re-signed another player who took part in their OTAs and post-draft mini-camps, defensive end George Johnson. Johnson fills the roster spot created Tuesday when fellow rookie DE Brandon Gilbeaux was placed on injured reserve. There was no need to clear a spot for Snead, as the team had been at 79 players since last week's release of S De'von Hall.
With Freeman sidelined for the remainder of the preseason, the Buccaneers needed a third healthy quarterback to share reps with Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter. However, because Freeman is expected to practice prior to the regular-season opener and make that Week One start against Cleveland, the Bucs did not believe it was necessary to add a veteran passer with significant starting experience.
The 6-3, 219-pound Snead started the last two years at Ole Miss, appearing in 26 games and completing 375 of 668 passes (55.3%) for 5,394 yards, 46 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He finished his collegiate career with a passer efficiency rating of 134.8. An early graduate who declared for the draft after his junior season, Snead was considered a top prospect entering the 2009 campaign following his standout sophomore performance. After transferring from Texas and sitting out the mandated season, Snead took over the Rebels' starting role and threw for 2,762 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2008.
Johnson was a highly-recruited pass-rusher coming out of high school in Glassboro, New Jersey but his full potential was held back somewhat at Rutgers by a string of unrelated injuries. Still, the 6-4, 265-pound pass-rusher was able to play in 38 games and compile 132 tackles, 13 sacks, 31.5 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, two interceptions and three passes defensed. Johnson peaked as a senior in 2009, notching 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He participated in the Buccaneers' post-draft rookie mini-camp on a tryout contract and was impressive enough to earn a spot on the roster the following week. Johnson participated very little in the first week and a half of training camp due to injury and was waived/injured on August 10.
Gilbeaux (6-3, 270) transferred from Syracuse to Delaware in 2008 and immediately stepped into the Blue Hens' defensive rotation, appearing in 10 games with three starts. After contributing 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in his first year at Delaware, he emerged as an all-conference performer in 2009. Gilbeaux tied for the team lead last season with 5.5 sacks and also added 58 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and another blocked kick.