The first two weeks of free agency have brought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall-of-Fame talent on offense and a lot of good news on defense. Now the Buccaneers have retained some core talent on special teams, as well.
On Saturday, the Buccaneers announced that they have re-signed fifth-year cornerback Ryan Smith, who led the team in special teams tackles in 2019. Smith also gives the team valuable depth at cornerback, with 16 starts on defense over the past four seasons.
Smith (5-11, 189) was a fourth-round pick in 2016 by the Buccaneers, who converted him from his college position to safety during his rookie season. However, he played almost exclusively on special teams as a rookie and then was moved back to cornerback before his second season. In 2017, he opened 10 games and recorded 63 tackles, two forced fumbles and five passes defensed. Smith made six more starts in his third season and recorded his first career interception along with 38 tackles and six passes defensed. He also emerged as a special teams ace, with five kick-coverage tackles and a knack for downing punts near the opponents' goal line.
Last year, Smith was once again one of the team's top special teamers, with a team-leading seven stops and a forced fumble. He appeared on defense in three games and added four tackles and a pass defensed.