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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers trade safety Wilcox to Steelers, finalize practice squad

Roy Cummings



Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the easiest and most direct route in finding a place on their roster for new safety T.J. Ward, simply swapping out one thumper for another.

It took a preliminary swap to create the opening, though.

The Bucs on Sunday traded safety J.J. Wilcox and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick to the Steelers for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick, the team announced.

The deal creates the opening the Bucs needed after they signed Ward to a one-year, $4.5 million contract shortly after he was released on Saturday by the Broncos.

Ward now joins a safety corps that includes projected starters Chris Conte and Keith Tandy as well as rookie Justin Evans, the team’s second-round draft pick (50th overall) this past spring.

Wilcox came to the Bucs during free agency, signing a two-year, $6.25 million deal that included a guaranteed $1 million roster bonus as well as a $250,000 miscellaneous bonus.

The deal also called for Wilcox’s $2.5 million salary for the 2017 season to be full guaranteed but the Bucs are no longer on the hook for the salary, only the bonuses.

The trade was one of several moves made on Sunday by the Bucs, who re-signed several of the players who were with them during the preseason to their practice squad.

The most notable was probably linebacker Riley Bullough, who fans got to know in-depth through the exposure the Bucs have received by being the subject of this year’s season of Hard Knocks on HBO.

Also being signed to the Bucs practice squad on Sunday were:

DE       Sterling Bailey

RB       Russell Hansbrough

FB       Austin Johnson

S          Isaiah Johnson

OL       Mike Liedtke

T          Marquis Lucas

WR      Freddie Martino

CB       Jonathan Moxey

LB        Eric Nzeocha

WR      Bobo Wilson



Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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