The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed linebacker Dane Fletcher to a one-year deal, according to Scott Smith. The former New England Patriot has mostly been a special teams player throughout his career, with six starts in four years, but got some playing time in sub packages as well, racking up four sacks, one interception and 76 tackles in his career.
Fletcher was an undrafted free agent out of Montana State in 2010. The 6'2", 244 lbs. linebacker managed to play 18% of the defensive snaps for the Patriots last season, and appeared on 58.5% of the team's special teams snaps. The Buccaneers have their starting linebackers at every position, but Fletcher may compete with Jonathan Casillas for the strong-side linebacker position. Lavonte David and Mason Foster should be the starters at weak-side and middle linebacker, respectively.
According to Ian Rapoport, Fletcher's contract includes $1.2 million in guaranteed money, which likely means the team sees him as a candidate for a starting spot on defense.
With the signings of Fletcher and guard Oniel Cousins today, the Bucs have entered the second phase of free agency: finding depth and cheap, spot starters after the initial feeding frenzy. The team is still looking for depth at the cornerback and wide receiver positions.