Bucs Re-Sign Versatile Veteran DL2 min read
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By: Bailey Adams
The Bucs have re-signed another one of their own in an effort to shore up the depth along their defensive line. Pat O’Connor, a rotational lineman who also stars on special teams, is returning for another season in Tampa. The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported the news Saturday evening.
FA DE Pat O’Connor is re-signing with the #Bucs, source tells @theScore.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 18, 2023
O’Connor is back on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.08 million, Fox Sports’ Greg Auman reported.
The Bucs originally signed O’Connor to their practice squad in 2017. That season, he played in three games. After spending the 2018 season on the practice squad again, he carved out more of a role from 2019 on.
After playing eight games in 2019, he appeared in all 16 games during the Bucs’ Super Bowl season in 2020. He notched his first career sack in a Week 14 win over the Vikings, sacking Kirk Cousins in the fourth quarter.
O’Connor finished with a half-sack while playing 13 games in 2021 before appearing in all 17 games during the 2022 season. The Eastern Michigan product has been a steady depth piece for the Bucs’ defensive line over the years and a well-liked figure in the team’s locker room. But his biggest contributions have come as something of a special teams ace.
O’Connor has played 1,115 special teams snaps for the Bucs over the last four years, which is the most of any player. He blocked a punt in a 2020 win over Denver and blocked a Justin Tucker field goal attempt during the 2022 season.
Bucs Building Up Their Depth
By re-signing O’Connor, the Bucs are continuing to build depth on their defense — a theme of Saturday. Earlier in the day, the team inked outside linebacker Cam Gill to a new deal. Former Rams defensive tackle Greg Gaines was also brought in on a one-year contract for the 2023 season.
With Vea, Hall, Gaines and O’Connor under contract at the defensive line position, Tampa Bay still has some holes to fill. Will Gholston could stay for an 11th season, but Akiem Hicks is unlikely to return and Rakeem Nunez-Roches is off the table, as he signed with the Giants this week.
The 2023 class isn’t all that deep at defensive line, but adding another guy in April’s draft could be a possibility as well. The Bucs are looking for value given their cap situation, so they may be patient in their approach.
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Originally posted on Pewter Report