The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the o-line help they needed when they traded safety Kelcie McCray to the Kansas City Chiefs for guard Rishaw Johnson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted no time in shoring up their offensive line.
"On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dealt from a position of depth to add to one of uncertainty, trading safety Kelcie McCray to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for guard Rishaw Johnson.
"'We said that we would continue to look at players that would help our football team, as much as anything, so we're excited about getting Rishaw Johnson here into the mix,' said Head Coach Lovie Smith, who announced the trade after practice on Thursday afternoon.
"The move looks like a good one for both players, who land in situations that may give them a greater opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Buccaneers, for instance, had six safeties who have performed well in training camp and McCray might have found himself in a battle for the final spot with rising young player Bradley McDougald.
"Johnson, meanwhile, joins a group of guards competing for spots on the most unsettled part of the team's depth chart. Smith said that Johnson has also played center and thus offers the team some flexibility with its interior line depth.
"'We'll continue to look for players this time of year -- guys that might not have a great chance of making (their) balllclub, and maybe that's the case on their end (of the trade) also,' said Smith. 'It just seemed like a good fit as much as anything. He's a player that became available and we thought it was a good fit for us.
"'Kansas City also got a good football player in Kelcie McCray. We like our safety position. We had a few guys there, so they got a good football player and we feel like we got a good football player also.'
"Though Johnson is just 25 and is now with the third team of his brief NFL career, he does have some regular-season experience to fall back on, which could be an advantage among a group of mostly untested players. He spent most of his 2012 rookie season on Seattle's practice squad after signing with the (Seattle) Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, then was promoted to the active roster for the final four weeks of the regular season plus the playoffs.
"Johnson was waived in the final cuts before the start of last season and subsequently signed to Kansas City's practice squad. After just three weeks he was promoted to the active roster, where he remained for the rest of the year. He saw action in three regular-season games, with one NFL start, and he also played in the Chiefs' Wild Card game against (the) Indianapolis (Colts).
"'He's just a big athlete, looks pretty good on video,' said Smith. 'I don't know a lot about him right now but everything has checked out. Again, whenever you get a chance to add a big, young athlete, you have to be pretty excited about that. He has good video. Being on an active roster for a period of time with Seattle and Kansas City, we know those guys and of course he's a good player.
"McCray played in 11 games for the Buccaneers last season, signing with Tampa Bay in October after being waived by the Miami Dolphins."
In another team development, second-year tight end Tim Wright -- a converted wide receiver -- was criticized by Smith for having a bad week. Wright said all he can do is play to the best of his abilities one day at a time, notes The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud and Greg Auman:
"It was a little bit of news, but at the end of the day it comes with the game. You just try to get better. You try to watch film and correct the mistakes that you made. There are some things I'm doing that are new so I've got to give myself a chance, too, but I'm coming along.
"My whole week, it is what it is. That's what was said. But one day at a time, I go out there and just try to be great. That's what I focus on.
"When you think of tight end, that's what you think of. The game is evolving to that pass catcher now and some of the things I did last year. But when I first got switched, I knew that was going to be an uphill battle for me, trying to put on some weight and block guys who have been doing it their whole life at defensive end. But its' a fun thing, it's a challenge, and I like challenges."
For his part, Smith told Stroud and Auman he loves Wright's long-term potential despite the rough week he had:
"I love Tim Wright as a football player. You go through spells when you don't play your best ball for a short period of time. When I talked then, it was a little period of time where Tim hadn't played his best ball. But you look at the big picture? Tim has been a good football player for us. We like what he's been able to do. We've talked going forward about what we'll be able to do with him. You can split him out, the matchups you have with safeties and linebackers.
"You can catch me at any time and I might be disappointed in a player. But big picture? No. There's no disappointment in Tim Wright. We like him being on our football team.'"