Bucs sign veteran free-agent safety Stewart

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed veteran safety Darian Stewart, the team announced Tuesday.

At one point, with Mike Edwards (hamstring) and Kentrell Brice (ankle) suffering injuries, the Bucs were down to just two safeties during their first preseason game, position coach Nick Rapone said.

"That's it. That's all we had," Rapone said. "... Once [Brice] hurt his ankle, we were down to the two that [were] playing on the field."

The Bucs have been hampered by injuries at the safety position. Edwards is expected to miss 6-7 days, Justin Evans is close to returning from a foot injury and D'Cota Dixon went to IR with a shoulder injury. Brice returned to practice Monday

Stewart, a member of the Broncos' "No Fly Zone" that led the NFL in pass defense in back-to-back seasons and helped power the team to a Super Bowl 50 win, was released in March with two years remaining on his contract.

Stewart, 30, is entering his 10th NFL season and was slated to count $6.37 million against the salary cap for the Broncos. Stewart, who said he felt he still had a lot of football left in him, was due nearly $5 million in 2019 and 2020.

He originally signed with the Broncos in 2015 and missed just three games in his four seasons with the team. A respected voice in the locker room, Stewart had at least 56 tackles each season (250 total), and he had 9 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries and a sack.

Stewart, who made the Pro Bowl in 2016, formed the team's "No Fly Zone" alongside safety T.J. Ward and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., who is the only remaining member of that secondary still with Denver.

Undrafted out of South Carolina in 2010, Stewart spent four seasons with the Rams in St. Louis followed by one season in Baltimore, where he caught the eye of Gary Kubiak, who was the Ravens' offensive coordinator in 2014. When Kubiak replaced John Fox as head coach in Denver, he encouraged general manager John Elway to sign Stewart.

To make room on the roster, the Bucs waived defensive lineman Dare Odeyingbo.

ESPN's Jenna Laine, Jeff Legwold and The Associated Press contributed to this report.