NFL Netowork’s Ian Rapoport reported early Saturday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers we’re bringing in running back Terrance West for a visit.
The #Bucs, who lost RB Charles Sims to a knee injury for the season, are hosting free agent RB Terrance West for a visit today, source said. West was recently released by New Orleans.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2018
West was last seen on the roster of the New Orleans Saints who have had a bunch of guys competing to pair with Alvin Kamara as they’ll be missing Mark Ingram for the first month of the regular season.
The fifth-year running back out of Towson has played with the Browns, Titans and Ravens before joining the Saints this off-season.
His best year thus far came in 2016 with the Ravens where West carried the ball 193 times for 774 yards. He also had a career high five touchdowns that year.
Now, the Bucs are bringing him in to at least consider adding him to their own roster as a replacement for a different veteran. With Charles Sims on the injured reserve, it seems Tampa Bay at least wants to at least take a look at adding another back before heading into their fourth and final pre-season game.
Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ronald Jones, Shaun Wilson and Dare Ogunbowale currently stand as the only remaining running backs on the roster. Which, I for one am ok with.
My presumption is Ogunbowale will be the odd man out and headed to the practice squad when all is said and done. So why the interest in West?
Here are my unconfirmed assumptions.
First, I would be incredibly surprised if Peyton Barber took any snaps in the final pre-season match-up before facing New Orleans. Barber has run well and as some have pointed out, his field awareness and vision seems to have jumped exponentially from when we last saw him.
This leaves Jones, Rodgers, Wilson and Ogunbowale to carry the load next week. However, Wilson is also getting in on special teams, so limiting some of his offensive snaps would be wise if the Buccaneers hope to have him in the same or similar role once the real games kickoff.
Adding West gives them another back to spread the snaps with, and do their best to get into the year as healthy as possible at a critical position.
Then, there’s the ‘what if’ factor every team faces. What if Peyton Barber gets injured?
Rodgers is a capable back, but not one a team with playoff aspirations wants to ride on a consistent basis. Jones has been shaky in his first three games as a pro, while Wilson and Ogunbowale have flashed some talent but are far too inexperienced to throw in as the primary back.
West is similar in build to Barber and in running style. I’m not saying fans would or should be excited at the prospect of his becoming a featured part of the running game should Barber go out, but his skill set at least matches what the Bucs have been able to do successfully through most of the pre-season.
A test drive here makes sense for both sides. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if West suits up, or if a conversation is all Jason Licht was looking for in the first place.