WR Jonathan Carter has played in 25 career games, most of them with the New York Jets
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to build their offseason roster for 2006, even though the league year doesn't start until March 3.
On Friday, the Bucs announced the signings of three more players: wide receiver Jonathan Carter, cornerback Dwight Ellick and linebacker Jermaine Taylor. All three were inked to "reserve/future" contracts, which allow teams to pick up free agents in January and February even though they don't officially take effect until March.
Through this method, the Bucs have added 32 players to their 2006 roster since the end of the 2005 campaign. On January 12, the team announced 29 reserve/future signings, including the eight players who had finished the season on the practice squad.
As noted during the previous round of signings, these are not insignificant additions, even if many of the names are unfamiliar to Buc fans. Three of the 14 players signed to reserve/future contracts a year ago made the active roster in 2005, including the team's leading tackler on special teams, safety Kalvin Pearson.
The latest group of new Buccaneers include one player who just entered the league in 2005 (Ellick), one small-school product who went to camp with Tampa Bay last summer (Taylor) and one more experienced veteran who has been on the active roster of both the Giants and the Jets (Carter).
Carter, a 6-0, 180-pound receiver out of Troy State, has been around the longest. He has been in the league since 2001, though this is his first escape from New York.
Carter first entered the league as a fifth-round draft pick in '01, selected 162nd overall by the New York Giants. He started his rookie season on the Giants' practice squad before a promotion to the active roster for the final two games. In 2002, he made the Giants' active roster out of camp but was eventually waived on October 8 and claimed off waivers by the New York Jets. Between the two Big Apple squads, Carter played in just one game, landing on the game-day inactive list for the other 15.
Carter remained with the Jets for the following two seasons and found a spot in the offense, appearing in 22 games with one start and catching 14 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. He showed a big-play touch, averaging 19.0 yards per reception, and proved to be a reliable kickoff returner, with a career average of 24.1 yards on 44 runbacks. An all-conference pick at Troy State, Carter hails from Lineville, Alabama.
Ellick (5-10, 185) finished his rookie NFL season with a short stint on the Washington Redskins' practice squad. A two-year starter at Notre Dame, Ellick signed as a college free agent with New Orleans after the 2005 draft and attended training camp with the Saints. He was waived on August 29 and did not appear in the league again until the Redskins picked him up on December 28.
His signing with the Buccaneers is a homecoming of sorts for Ellick, though he is not originally a Tampa native. He moved to the Bay area in 2000 and played his senior high school season at Wharton High School before heading off to Notre Dame. He lettered in both football and track for the Fighting Irish.
Taylor, a 5-10, 215-pound linebacker with good speed and special teams skills, will resume his attempt to become the first product of Bridgewater College to play in the NFL. He first entered the league in 2004 as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers but was waived on the final cut-down before the regular season. Taylor then signed with the Buccaneers last March and once again made it to the final cut before being waived.
Born in Jamaica, Taylor was raised in Miramar, Florida, outside of Miami. His father and uncle were professional cricket players and another uncle is currently a professional soccer player in Jamaica.