Per Rick Stroud (Tampa Bay Times) and official team report – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to retool their roster as they signed two new players in free agency. Defensive tackle Henry Melton and safety Chris Conte, both signed 1-year deals today.
Melton, a 28-year defensive tackle, played in all 16 games last year. At 6’3″ 290 lbs. Melton was a rotation defensive tackle who record 15 tackles, 5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles, making him an important part of the Dallas defensive line. Melton is also an ex-Chicago Bear, making him very familiar with Lovie Smith and a natural fit for the defense front of the Bucs. He will be joining Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald, giving the front 4 more depth and ability to get after the passer.
The other signing is safety Chris Conte. The 26-year old safety is also a former Bear with ties to Lovie. Last season (12 games) he recorded 43 tackles, 3 interceptions (9 in his career), and defended 3 passes. He missed time due to injury and does have a history of concussions, making the signing a little worrisome for Bucs fans. The move also singles the possible cut of Dashon Goldson. The Bucs already have Bradley McDougald and Major Wright as possible starters in the secondary, so Goldson appears to be the odd man out (saves money too).
So the rebuild continues for the Bucs. Hopefully this free agent signings will pan out better than the group the team signed last year. And hopefully won’t cost as much in the process.