Carimi passes physical with Bucs to complete trade
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope reuniting Gabe Carimi with one of his college coaches will help jumpstart the offensive tackle’s pro career.
The former first-round draft pick passed a physical on Monday, completing a trade that brought him to the Bucs from the Chicago Bears in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2014 draft.
The 6-foot-7, 316-pound Carimi won the Outland Trophy as a senior at Wisconsin, but failed to play up to expectations the Bears had for him as the 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
The Bucs welcomed the opportunity to bring Carimi in to work with offensive line coach Bob Bostad, one of his college coaches. The move bolsters the depth on a group that helped Doug Martin rush for 1,454 yards as a rookie despite playing much of last season without injured starting guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph.
“It provides competition. ... He’s played right guard and right tackle,” general manager Mark Dominik said, adding that the Bucs also liked Carimi coming out of Wisconsin.
“We did have a low first-round grade on him, about where he went,” Dominik said. “We felt he was a good fit for a mauling type of scheme, like someone who’s going to be more physical and run the ball. ... “I think our style of play fits into what he is.”
Carimi, who’s expected to participate in a mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday, started the first two games of his rookie year at right tackle before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
The Bears shifted him to right guard, where he started the first 10 games before losing the job to Jonathan Scott last season.
“You almost have to look at last year as kind of his rookie year. He only played a couple of games his first year, so he missed a lot of chance to grow and develop,” Dominik said.
The GM watched tape of Carimi from last season. “You could see he was not 100 percent, and they wound up having to sit him. ... He looked more rusty than like a guy with limited skills,” Dominik said.
Carimi attended the Bears’ voluntary minicamp in April, but did not participate in organized team activities after that.
“He’s going to have a lot of work to do, but I think he’s looking forward to it,” Dominik said. “He saw what Doug Martin did last year and what we do as an organization, and I’ve got to think that being reunited with his college football coach is a big deal to him.”
Bostad, an assistant at Wisconsin while Carimi was with the Badgers, is looking forward to working with the player again.
“We’re just looking for Gabe to come in here and compete, come in here and do what he did for me for four years at Wisconsin,” Bostad said. “Come out there and be physical, be tough, be a smart football player.”