This just in: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are dealing with more injuries.
Stop me if you’ve heard this a dozen times already in 2022.
The Buccaneers placed reserve swing tackle Josh Wells and veteran running back Giovani Bernard on IR Wednesday, meaning both players will miss the next four weeks, at minimum. Wells injured his calf during Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints and Bernard is dealing with an ankle injury.
The decision to place both players on IR opened up two roster spots, which the Buccaneers used to promote wide receiver Kaylon Geiger and linebacker Kenny Young from the practice squad to the active roster. The team also officially signed wideout Cole Beasley and offensive lineman Justin Skule to the practice squad on Wednesday.
Per Pro Football Focus‘ Doug Kyed, the Buccaneers are expected to add outside tackle depth in the future. Brandon Walton played well against the Saints in Wells’ stead, but he is a very unproven player and if Donovan Smith’s elbow causes him to miss more time, it’s logical to think the Buccaneers want to find more options to compete with Walton.
One such player could be former No. 1 overall pick and two-time Pro Bowler Eric Fisher. Fisher is still a free agent after playing for the Indianapolis Colts in 2021 and he represents not only a big upgrade over the Buccaneers’ current tackle depth, but he would also be a very solid starting option in case Smith is out more or goes down again.
The Buccaneers can take the same route with Fisher that they’re taking with Beasley – sign Fisher to the practice squad so he can learn the playbook/system and then use his three elevations once he’s ready to go. Then, the team can figure out whether or not they want to sign him to the 53-man roster or keep him on the practice squad.
If Fisher’s willing, of course.
And, in a worst-case scenario, the Buccaneers could give Fisher a one-year deal to his liking that includes void years to reduce the 2022 cap hit. Or, they could give him a veteran minimum deal with incentives.
Regardless, there are ways around the financial aspect of this hypothetical situation. The Buccaneers aren’t short-handed when it comes to acquiring Fisher.
The more the season goes on, the more the injuries pile up, though. So, it’s important for the Buccaneers to be hasty if they do decide to go this route. Because all it takes is another big injury to a contender’s left tackle and all eyes will be on Fisher once more.
Featured image via Robert Scheer / USA TODAY NETWORK