Wide receiver Maurice Stovall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' third-round pick in the 2006 draft, had 24 catches for 366 yards last season. Those totals topped his combined receiving numbers for his first three years in the NFL (20 for 213) and inspired optimism that he might produce even more with a greater opportunity.
That opportunity will come in Tampa in 2010, as on Friday Stovall signed the one-year tender offer that the Buccaneers had extended to him in March in order to make the fifth-year receiver a restricted free agent. Stovall is the second Buccaneer restricted free agent to sign his tender this spring, joining fellow wide receiver Mark Bradley.
Injuries to several receivers, including Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton, gave Stovall the opportunity to start seven games in 2009, four more than in his first three seasons combined. He recorded 17 of his 24 catches during those seven starts, racking up 247 receiving yards and a touchdown and averaging a healthy 14.5 yards per catch.
In addition to his promising work on offense last season, the 6-5, 220-pound Stovall also continued his work as one of the Bucs' best special teams players. He has 33 kick-coverage stops over the last three seasons and is particularly adept at downing punts near the opposition's goal line.
In all, Stovall has played in 44 NFL games with 10 starts and recorded 44 catches for 579 yards (13.2 avg.) and two touchdowns. He was taken with the 90th overall pick of the '06 draft out of Notre Dame, where he finished third in school history in touchdown receptions (18) and fourth in receiving yards (2,195).