By Dory LeBlanc
The Bucs' free agent signing frenzy continued Sunday with the addition of two more players.
The team officially announced via their Twitter account the signing of linebacker/special teams ace Dane Fletcher, who spent three seasons with New England, recording 26 tackles, two sacks a forcing a fumble in 2013. Fletcher led all Patriots special team players with 15 tackles last season.
per "@ScottSBucs: Another new Buc! Welcome aboard former Patriots LB Dane Fletcher, who has agreed to a one-year deal."— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) March 16, 2014
Earlier in the afternoon, Buccaneers.com Beat Writer Scott Smith reported the signing of former Cleveland OG Oniel Cousins.
Bucs working thru the weekend: The team has agreed to terms with former Cleveland guard Oniel Cousins on a 1-year deal.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) March 16, 2014
Cousins was selected in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft by Baltimore and claimed off waivers by the Browns in 2011. The Jamaican native has nine starts out of 59 games played.
The signing of Cousins and Evan Dietrich-Smith on Friday prompted tweets from NFL Insider Jason LaCanforna that the Bucs would be willing to take offers for current C/G Jeremy Zuttah, if the price is right.
After signing OL Evan Dietrich-Smith from Packers, Bucs open to listening to offers on OL Jeremy Zuttah. If value not there will keep him...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 16, 2014
Bucs, as I've noted, prioritized reshaping their OL this offseason and parting w/vets near the end of their deals factors into that...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 16, 2014
But ultimately Bucs can still carry Zuttah's salary if need be and prize his versatility. BAL, IND, NYG among teams w/need at interior OL— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 16, 2014
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OFFICIAL BUCCANEERS RELEASE:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today they have signed free agent LB Dane Fletcher and OL Oniel Cousins.
"Dane and Oniel are both quality players who provide us with added depth and versatility at their respective positions," said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. “Dane has a very good combination of size and athleticism and has displayed a tremendous work ethic since entering the league as a college free agent. With the opportunity for increased playing time, we believe he has the potential to thrive in this defense in addition to being a standout on special teams. Oniel played under George Warhop in Cleveland, so he will have a good familiarity with our blocking schemes."
Fletcher (6-2, 245) comes to Tampa Bay from New England, where he was signed as a college free agent in 2010. In his four-year career, Fletcher has played 38 games, including six starts, tallying 81 tackles, four sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. In addition, he has posted 15 tackles in the postseason, playing in six games with one start, including an appearance in Super Bowl XLVI. Fletcher also developed into an accomplished special teams player, leading the Patriots with 15 tackles last season.
A native a Bozeman, Mont., Fletcher played collegiately at Montana State (2006-2009), recording 67 tackles, seven sacks and two blocked kicks. After his senior season in 2009, Fletcher was selected as first-team All-Big Sky and named the Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP.
Cousins (6-4, 315) has played in 60 career regular season games, including nine starts, and four playoff contests over six seasons in Baltimore (2008-10) and Cleveland (2011-13). In 2013, he saw action in all 16 games, including four starts, for the Browns. Cousins originally entered the league as a third-round draft choice (99th overall) of the Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Born in Jamaica, Cousins attended Eastside Christian High School in Fullerton, Calif., before becoming a four-year letterman at UTEP (2004-07).
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