The Buccaneers have uncertainty for their depth at defensive tackle heading into their Week 1 game with the Saints. And a familiar face is now available and might make a good short-term option for them.
Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who signed as a free agent with the Broncos earlier this offseason was released in their final cuts on Saturday. And now, the Bucs are dealing with a couple of injury situations that McDonald might be able to help solve.
First, the team decided on Monday to place former Bears free agent acquisition Mitch Unrein on injured reserve do to a lingering serious concussion suffered at the beginning of training camp:
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 3, 2018
Unrein could be brought back later in the year, but he’s obviously not going to be able to help in the first half of the season.
Further, first round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea injured his calf prior to the opening preseason game in August. The Bucs have been very cautious with his rehab and recovery and Vea has not really been practicing towards the end of training camp.
After their Monday practice, coach Dirk Koetter did not sound optimistic that Vea will be able to play in the opener Sunday:
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) September 3, 2018
Back to McDonald, he is a former popular player in the Bucs locker room and leader when times were tough during a 5-11 season a year ago.
He came to the Bucs as a free agent in 2014, after playing on the Seahawks Super Bowl 48 winning team and signing a four year $12 million deal. He led Tampa Bay in sacks with five a year ago, and made $2 million.
Broncos president and GM John Elway made mention of McDonald’s release being more about a “numbers game” at defensive tackle on Saturday night:
Elway: “We had a lot of tough decisions. It’s a good thing to have. We had to let a lot of good football players go. Clinton [McDonald] was one of them.” Says only 5 DLs will suit up on game day.
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 1, 2018
That same numbers game may have Bucs GM Jason Licht, Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith reaching back for a familiar face to help them with their depth.
Clinton McDonald is certainly a well liked option.
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