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Reports: Free agent LB Deone Bucannon to leave Cardinals for Bucs

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Free agent linebacker Deone Bucannon will not return to the Cardinals and on Tuesday agreed to join former Arizona coach Bruce Arians on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to multiple reports.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported that Bucannon struck a one-year deal to join Arians in his first season back as an NFL head coach since Arians retired as a member of the Cardinals following the 2017 season.

Bucannon, 26, played in 13 games and started just six last season while struggling to find footing in first-year head coach Steve Wilks’ 4-3 scheme. He recorded 38 tackles with two QB hits, 1.0 sack and a forced fumble.

Injuries had limited Bucannon the two prior seasons, but he still produced more than 80 sacks in each of 2016 and 2017, Arians’ final two years coaching the Cardinals. Bucannon’s best season came in 2015, his second NFL campaign, when he tallied 109 tackles, 3.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and 11 tackles for loss.

The 27th overall pick in 2014 by Arizona was a converted safety and under Arians helped to coin the hybrid safety/linebacker position as the moneybacker.

Bowles, who was fired as the New York Jets head coach this offseason, is now serving as Buccaneers defensive coordinator.

Arizona has already moved on in filling in its linebacker depth chart. On Tuesday, the Cardinals reportedly agreed to sign former Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Third-year pro Haason Reddick is the only regular to return after Arizona released middle linebacker Josh Bynes. The Cardinals have also agreed to sign outside linebacker Terrell Suggs when the new league year begins on Wednesday.

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