Bucs sign former Seahawks WR, presumably to replace Deven Thompkins

Tampa Bay added another talented receiver to their roster with the first wave of OTA's underway.
Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks
Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Over the past two seasons, the Buccaneers have had one of the more promising kick and punt returners in the NFL with Deven Thompkins. In 22 games across the past two seasons, Thompkins took 28 kickoff returns for 590 kick return yards and 31 punt returns for 295 punt return yards.

With the new kickoff rules set to debut this season, the value of a solid kick and punt returner is one of the more underrated advantages a team can have in 2024.

That said, Tampa Bay made the shocking decision at the time to cut Thompkins with an injury designation last week during team OTA's. On Wednesday, it was reported that Thompkins was accused of domestic abuse against his wife Maria Castilhos, a case that be investigated by the NFL soon.

During OTA's, Tampa Bay has given Trey Palmer, Jalen McMillan, Rachaad White, and Bucky Irving reps as kick and punt returner. Unlike Thompkins, all four of those players have integral roles elsewhere on the roster, and taking on another responsibility would only increase the chances of injury or fatigue later in the game.

Bucs sign former Seahawks WR, presumably to replace Deven Thompkins

Initially reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers added an immediate replacement for Thompkins, signing free agent wide receiver Cody Thompson to a one-year deal. Tampa Bay will be the second different team for Thompson in the NFL, who previously played in Seattle in 2021 and 2023.

Thompson entered the league in 2019 when he signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad as an undrafted free agent. That year, Thompson also enjoyed stints on the Seahawks' and Bengals' practice squads. Through it all, Thompson has played in 12 career NFL games in a special teams role, notching three career tackles and a fumble recovery.

Before making the jump to the NFL, Thompson played at the University of Toledo for five seasons from 2014-2018. In 50 starts, Thompson caught 181 passes for 3,312 receiving yards, 30 touchdowns, and 18.3 yards per catch, while being named a two-time All MAC First Team selection in 2016 and 2018.

“We’ve got a lot of competition come training camp,” Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’ve got some guys that [are] going to surprise some people. I’m looking forward to seeing them in pads. We’re excited to see where it goes.”

Now in Tampa Bay, Thompson joins a solid Buccaneers receiving core headlined by Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Palmer, and McMillan as the assumed top four receivers. Outside of that, Thompson will compete with Rakim Jarrett, returning practice squad players Cephus Johnson III and Ryan Miller, and 2024 undrafted free agents Kameron Johnson, Tanner Knue, and Lateral Jones for a roster spot this season.

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