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Bucs add speed, strength in free agency to try to improve their team

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The Tampa Bay Bucs, trying to improve their team for the coming season, have added strength and speed from the nation’s capital.

The Bucs signed the defensive tackle and wide receiver DeSean Jackson Wednesday on the first day of free agency.

The big catch, so to speak, is Jackson, who led the NFL last year with an average 17.9 yards per catch. He will immediately slot opposite Pro Bowler Mike Evans, and immediately promises to help the rest of the offense.

Quarterback Jameis Winston has had trouble with his deep ball; Jackson gives him a game-breaker who can separate from a corner. It will be harder to double-team Evans, and tight end Cameron Brate should be able to work underneath.

“It is rare to find a player in free agency with the combination of speed and natural playmaking ability of a DeSean Jackson,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. “DeSean is a smart, gifted athlete who has averaged more than 17 yards per reception throughout his nine-year career and brings the type of veteran experience and deep threat receiving ability that will have an immediate impact on our offense.”

Baker should move into the starting lineup opposite Gerald McCoy.

Per Stats, Inc., Baker has 64.5 combined quarterback knockdowns and hurries over the past two seasons. Dating back to 2015, Baker is one of six NFL players to post 100+ tackles, 9+ sacks, and 5+ forced fumbles, joining Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Carlos Dunlap, Melvin Ingram and Brandon Graham.

“Chris has excellent size and what really jumps out at you is his ability to flash dominance at times during games and his explosive quickness,” said Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter. “His versatility will make him a great complementary player alongside Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald on our interior defensive line.”

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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