1. Bucs

Bucs re-sign RB Peyton Barber for 2018

Team's leading rusher is back for third NFL season after emerging at end of 2017.
Bucs RB Peyton Barber, who rushed for at least 50 yards in each of the last five games of 2017, is back under contract for 2018. (TIMES FILES -- 2017)
Published Mar. 13, 2018

The Bucs continue to finish their housekeeping in advance of the start of NFL free agency, re-signing running back Peyton Barber for the 2018 season.

Barber, 24, who led the Bucs in rushing with 423 yards last season, was an exclusive-rights free agent, so all Tampa Bay needed to do to keep him was offer a one-year, league-minimum contract for $630,000. They did the same with cornerback Javien Elliott last week.

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Barber will be part of a revamped backfield in 2018 — the Bucs have already released former Pro Bowl back Doug Martin, and Charles Sims is a free agent. Jacquizz Rodgers is also back under contract for the upcoming season.

Barber managed to lead the Bucs in rushing despite having only 88 rushing yards in the first 11 games. He rushed for 102 yards in a loss at the Packers, and had at least 50 yards in each of the last five games. His average of 3.9 yards per carry was significantly higher than Martin (2.9).

The Bucs have been busy in the first 24 hours of free agency retaining their own young nucleus, giving TE Cameron Brate a six-year extension and bringing WR Adam Humphries back for 2018 as well. CB Brent Grimes was also signed to a one-year contract on Monday.