Bruce Carter's 4-year, $17M deal with #Bucs really can be a 1-year, $4.25M pact. No other guarantees. $750K roster bonus due March 2016.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 11, 2015
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed linebacker Bruce Carter, per Adam Schefter. It's a four-year deal, the team announced, worth $20.5 million, according to Mike Garofolo. The former Dallas Cowboys defender will fill the hole left by Mason Foster, who wasn't re-signed by Tampa Bay in free agency.
Carter is a versatile, athletic linebacker who has played every linebacker position. Drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, he was always an explosive player, but he didn't turn into a consistent, impact defender until this past season, when he notched one sack and five interceptions in 13 games as a strongside linebacker.
It's not clear where the Bucs envision him playing. Danny Lansanah is seen as a starter at strongside linebacker, and Lavonte David isn't going anywhere either, which would leave the middle for Carter -- but that's not a position where he's excelled. Instead, the Bucs may see Carter as a strongside linebacker with Lansanah moving to the middle, or they'll just let those two players duke it out over the right to stay on the field on third downs.
As with the other players the Bucs have targeted, Carter represents a mid-tier free agent who should upgrade the Bucs' roster without breaking the bank -- and without being so risky as to cripple the team in case he busts.