TAMPA — The Bucs added a veteran cornerback for 2017, agreeing to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal with Robert McClain, who played extensively for Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith with the Falcons from 2012-14.
McClain, 28, is 5 feet 9 and 195 pounds and spent last season with the Panthers and Chargers. He overlapped with Smith in Atlanta, totaling 186 tackles and three interceptions during their three years together; Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter was Atlanta's offensive coordinator at that time as well.
McClain could back up starters Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves — as it stands, their next corner would be second-year pro Ryan Smith, who didn't play a snap on defense last year. He also played at nickel or slot cornerback with the Panthers last year, so he could compete for that job — the Bucs also return Jude Adjei-Barimah and Javien Elliott, their two nickels from last year.
The Bucs had waived rookie cornerback Greg Mabin on Monday to open up a roster spot, and McClain will fill that spot once he signs.
McClain has played well against the Bucs, with seven tackles in each of his past two games against Tampa Bay with Carolina. He also intercepted Jameis Winston in 2015 and returned the pick 24 yards in a win against the Bucs.
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