The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their first move with a pending free agent on the eve of the new league year, as the team announced on Twitter that Jonathan Casillas had been re-signed to a one-year deal.
Good news: Bucs have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal to bring LB Jonathan Casillas back. Casillas would’ve been an unrestricted FA Tuesday.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) March 7, 2014
Casillas, who joined the team in 2013 after a spell in New Orleans, was set to become a free agent on Tuesday, but this last-minute agreement keeps him in Tampa for 2014.
The former Saint was a solid contributor on special teams and played linebacker on defense from time to time, earning a bigger role as the season went on. He played just under 200 snaps on the season, according to Pro Football Focus, and came away with very neutral grades.
Casillas isn’t the most impressive athlete, nor is he very big for a linebacker, but he’s a hard-hitter and a hard-worker on defense and special teams, and these are qualities that earned him a spot on Jason Licht and Lovie Smith’s first roster in Tampa Bay. He’ll figure to compete for a job at SAM linebacker and also play special teams in the upcoming season.
The Buccaneers still have several free agents who are set to hit the open market on Tuesday when the new league year begins, with Casillas and Bobby Rainey representing the only Bucs to sign a new deal thus far. Dekoda Watson, Adam Hayward, Jamon Meredith, Erik Lorig and Ted Larsen are among the big names left without a deal heading into the official start of the 2014 season and free agency.