Bucs Sign DE Tafoya; Release DL Sweeney

July 18 - Another Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft pick is in the fold with the signing of seventh-round pick DE Joe Tafoya. Tafoya, an All-Pac 10 player from Arizona, signed a three-year deal. The Bucs also released former NFL Europe DL Matt Sweeney.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the signing of seventh-round draft pick Joe Tafoya, a defensive end from Arizona. Tafoya signed a three-year deal for the rookie minimum base salary of $209,000 the first year, $298,000 in the second year and $389,000 in the third year. His signing bonus is estimated to be about $25,000.

The high-motor Tafoya was a four-year letterman for the Wildcats, earning All-Pac 10 honors during his junior and senior seasons. He recorded 165 career tackles, 24.5 sacks and 49 tackles for losses.

With Tafoya's signing, Tampa Bay has currently agreed to terms with six of this year's nine draft picks: CB Dwight Smith (third-round pick) G Russ Hochstein (fifth-round), FB Jameel Cook (sixth-round), DE Ellis Wyms (sixth-round), and FS Than Merrill (seventh round, 223).

The Bucs are expected to sign fourth-round pick FS John Howell and seventh-round pick TE Daunte` Finger on Thursday or Friday.

In other Buccaneers news, Tampa Bay released defensive lineman Matt Sweeney, who flunked the team's physical upon his return from NFL Europe. Sweeney signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent on January 3 and spent the offseason with NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals where he notched four sacks and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.

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