TAMPA — The Bucs got a long look at Anthony Nelson last year when Shaquil Barrett sustained a season-ending Achilles injury.
The former fourth-round pick from Iowa didn’t disappoint, recording 5.5 sacks in eight starts at outside linebacker and 10.5 over the past two seasons.
That’s why the Bucs have agreed on a two-year, $11 million contract with Nelson, the third unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the team prior to today’s 4 p.m. signing period.
Nelson, 26, received a lot of interest from other teams, so the Bucs did well to retain him. They also signed cornerback Jamel Dean to a four-year, $52 million contract Monday and retained guard Aaron Stinnie when he agreed to a one-year contract Tuesday.
Re-signing the 6-foot-7, 271-pound Nelson demonstrates the value of an edge rusher for the Bucs. Barrett should be close to recovered by the start of training camp, and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka did not take the big step the Bucs hoped when he became a full-time starter last season. For the second straight year, he produced only four sacks.
Nelson has been much more efficient. He had 5 sacks in 2021 despite playing only approximately 32 percent of the defensive snaps.
Last season, Nelson finished with 46 tackles, three tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also was an iron man after Barrett’s injury, playing 100 percent of the defensive snaps in three consecutive games.
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