Bucs add a pair of veteran defensive ends, competition
The Bucs made two moves at a position of need today, signing defensive ends Wallace Gilberry and Jayme Mitchell to one-year contracts. To make room on the active roster, defensive end Hilee Taylor and defensive tackle Myles Wade were cut.
Both Gilberry and Mitchell are experienced players and seem possibilities to make the final roster given their track records. At first glance, it seems their additions, at minimum, add needed competition along the defensive line and, perhaps, depth in the wake of starting end Da’Quan Bowers’ torn Achilles tendon.
Mitchell, 28, has six previous seasons of NFL experience, after four seasons with the Vikings and two with the Browns. The 6-6, 285-pound former Mississippi player started 13 games with Cleveland in 2011, recording 1.5 sacks and 34 total tackles.
Gilberry, 27, has played four seasons, all with the Chiefs. He is a veteran of 53 NFL games, recording 14 sacks mostly as a reserve player. At 6-2 and 268 pounds, Gilberry had 2.5 sacks last season and a career-best seven in 2010.
Since Bowers’ injury last month, the Bucs hadn’t done much to solidify the defensive end position. Coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik said they first wanted to further scrutinize their current linemen during offseason workouts. Today’s moves could be construed as a reaction to what the team’s brass saw during the past couple of weeks of OTAs.
The moves add experience to a unit that had little. Starting right defensive end Adrian Clayborn is entering just his second year, while presumptive left end Michael Bennett is entering his fourth. The next player on the depth chart behind them was arguably George Johnson, who has played a grand total of four games as a pro.