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Bucs paid over $250,000 guaranteed to 2018 undrafted rookies

Safety Godwin Igwebuike leads the way with $105,000 guaranteed from Bucs after going undrafted in April.
Bucs rookie QB Austin Allen, shown with RB Ronald Jones, got the second-largest guaranteed money among the Bucs' undrafted rookies. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)
Published May 28, 2018
Updated May 28, 2018

The Bucs have had great success in finding talent in undrafted rookies in recent years, and they paid out more than $250,000 in guaranteed money to undrafted rookies this year, hoping to continue the trend.

The biggest bonus, and among the largest for any undrafted rookie in the league this year, was $105,000 to Northwestern safety Godwin Igwebuike, who got a $20,000 signing bonus and $85,000 of base salary guaranteed. That could cover most of the season on practice squad, even if he didn't make the team's initial 53-man roster.

QB Austin Allen of Arkansas, who will go to training camp as the Bucs' No. 4 quarterback behind three returning veterans, got a combined $50,000 to sign with Tampa Bay. Allen got a $15,000 signing bonus and $35,000 in base salary  guaranteed.

OL Cole Boozer of Temple, who will compete for a backup job at offensive tackle, got $45,000 to sign, with a $20,000 bonus and $25,000 in base salary guaranteed. It's a solid bonus — two years ago when the Bucs got Leonard Wester after the draft, he signed for $35,000 ($20,000 bonus, $15,000 guaranteed salary) and is still on the roster and entering his third season.

RB Shaun Wilson of Duke, who could make the team as a backup running back or return specialist, got $20,000 to sign, with a $10,000 signing bonus and $10,000 in base salary guaranteed. By comparison, the Bucs signed RB Peyton Barber for an $8,000 signing bonus two years ago and he led the team in rushing last season.

TE Donnie Ernsberger of Western Michigan, who is trying to be the fourth undrafted rookie tight end to make the Bucs' roster in five years, got a $15,000 signing bonus. Another undrafted rookie tight end, Missouri's Jason Reece, got a $3,500 signing bonus.

DE Demone Harris of Buffalo got a $5,000 signing bonus, K Trevor Moore got a $4,000 signing bonus, DE Evan Perrizo of Minnesota State got a $3,000 signing bonus, and the rest of the undrafted rookies are believed to have bonuses of $1,000 or less.

On the whole, the Bucs have 15 undrafted rookies on the current roster, with a combined investment of less guaranteed money than 2018 fifth-round pick Justin Watson, who was slotted for a $301,736 signing bonus.

Remember, too, that signing bonuses only indicate what it took to land the player — two years ago, DT DaVonte Lambert  made the Bucs' roster after getting no signing bonus at all, and TE Alan Cross did so after a $2,000 bonus.