Bucs Sign Jerry Rice Award-Winning Playmaker: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty Bucs senior advisor Bruce Arians is familiar with what Chase Edmonds can do from their time in Arizona.

A year later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed a running back they “really wanted” in free agency.

The Bucs signed Denver Broncos running back Chase Edmonds on Thursday, March 16, to a 1-year deal according to a source via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Edmonds has 1,796 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in his NFL career after a stellar collegiate career at Fordham where he won the Jerry Rice Award and tallied 5,862 yards in four seasons. Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds explained that the Bucs had Edmonds on the radar in free agency last year, too.

“The Bucs really wanted Edmonds last year in free agency, but instead re-signed Leonard Fournette to a three-year deal instead due to his familiarity with [Tom] Brady and the offense,” Reynolds wrote. “Fournette is being released this offseason due to his sub-par season in 2022, and to free up approximately $3.5 million in cap space.”

Edmonds could add to the passing attack out of the backfield. He has 42 first-down receptions since 2020 amid 126 receptions for 921 yards and five touchdowns overall for his career since 2018. Last season, he caught 16 passes for 157 yards.

On the ground, Edmonds averaged 2.9 yards per carry for 245 yards and two touchdowns in 2022, but he saw better days before that. Edmonds has a 4.5 yards per attempt career average. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Edmonds in 2018 before he joined the Miami Dolphins as a free agent in 2022. The Dolphins traded Edmonds during the season.

“Edmonds is a slashing, cutback runner, whose rushing style should be a great fit in Tampa Bay’s new offense,” Reynolds wrote. “New offensive coordinator Dave Canales will be incorporating a lot of wide zone run plays, which should play to Edmonds’ strengths. This is another quality signing by the Bucs this offseason, who are having a great run in free agency despite limited cap resources. The Bucs are also moving on from veteran free agent Giovani Bernard.”

Reynolds reported that Edmonds will make a league minimum $1.08 million.

How Edmonds Will Fit With Bucs

Edmonds could add depth to the Bucs’ backfield, but the starting role belongs to second-year running back Rachaad White according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. White impressed as a rookie with 481 yards rushing and a touchdown plus 50 receptions for 290 yards and two touchdowns. He overtook Fournette for the starting job at midseason amid a running attack that finished last in the league.

While Edmonds may not garner the lion’s share of the carries, he could add value on special teams. He has 390 snaps of special teams experience from his first two years with the Cardinals in 2018 and 2019, Stroud noted.

Ezekiel Elliot is Out

While the Bucs hypothetically could have gone after former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, the former NFL rushing leader didn’t make sense as Reynolds saw it.

“Despite a report in the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs do not have an interest in Elliott, who played for new Bucs running backs coach Skip Peete in Dallas,” Reynolds wrote. “The Bucs can’t afford Elliott, who has a lot more wear and tear on his body after running for over 8,000 yards in his career and compiling over 10,000 total yards.”