Bucs Re-Sign High School QB-Turned Lineman: Report

Josh Wells

Getty Josh Wells played a key backup role in 2020.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Josh Wells played the same position as Tom Brady in high school football, and he didn’t shy away from telling him last season.

“We’ve had a little talk,” Wells told WTRS’s Lane Casadonte in a January interview. “I’ll throw it every now and then, but I’m not built for that these days.”

The 6-6, 311-pound tackle is built for blocking now. He re-signed with the Bucs on Tuesday per Buccaneers.com after spending two seasons with the team. His contract is a one-year, $990,000 deal, which includes a $137,500 signing bonus, according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman.

Wells played a backup role, but his lone start came in one of the most pivotal regular season games for the Bucs in 2020, a 17-point second-half comeback at Atlanta in December. He played all 68 offensive snaps per Pro Football Reference in place of the injured Donovan Smith.

Wells helped protect Brady well enough for the Bucs to rally with the passing attack. Brady threw for 390 yards and two touchdowns, and he only took three sacks in the game.

“He’s a super competitor on the field, and obviously when you have him at quarterback like that, you have a chance to be great,” Wells told Casadonte.

The veteran lineman played in 15 regular season games and all four playoff games last season. He played 10 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and 18 percent special teams snaps last season per Pro Football Reference. He played on 19-22 percent of the special teams snaps in the playoff games — including the Super Bowl.

“I think just being available and showing up every day is a huge part of the battle,” Wells told the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Wayne Epps before the Super Bowl. “Just showing up willing to work and willing to learn every day, and just letting God handle the rest. And I’m putting my best foot forward every day.”

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Big Transition

Wells told Casandonte that his high school quarterbacking stories are met with a “yeah, of course, you did” type response.

A college walkon at James Madison, Wells didn’t start playing offensive until the Dukes staff shuffled him around to various positions. He ultimately played offensive line at the encouragement of his father, Jeff, according to Epps.

“I had no idea how to play offensive line,” Wells told Epps. “So I guess really, in a sense, it kind of helped because there were no bad habits that I had to break initially because I had never played it.”

Wells credits his parents the most in making it to the NFL per Casadonte.

“They’ve always had the best intentions for me even when I couldn’t see it at the time,” Wells said per Casadonte. “It’s a blessing honestly. God’s given me everything I’ve got. I’ve worked with the things he’s given me.”

Giving up Control

Wells doesn’t bother controlling what he can’t, he told Epps.

Coming into the NFL undrafted, Wells played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014 to 2018 until the team released him in 2019 before the season.

“You kind of look at rosters and what schemes you might fit in,” Wells told Epps. “It’s honestly just a leap of faith. And God kind of worked it out for me. And I knew that’s where I needed to be.”

“It’s just showing up and working hard and controlling the things that I could control,” Wells added. “I mean, I couldn’t control if I made the team, I couldn’t control if I was playing or not. But I could control showing up, being a pro.”

Wells told Epps that prayed to go to the Bucs as he didn’t want to move too far with his wife, Morgan, being pregnant. The Bucs invited Wells for a workout and signed him within a week according to Epps.

“It’s awesome to be a part of something successful,” Wells told Epps. “It’s awesome to be a part of something this big.”

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