On Wednesday morning, the Buccaneers announced the signing of S Nick Saenz to their practice squad. The team had an open spot on that eight-man crew since promoting DE Markus White to the active roster last Saturday.
Saenz, who played his college ball at Houston, went north to make his initial entry into the NFL, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Bills in May. He was released by Buffalo during the final roster cuts after recording 10 tackles and one forced fumble during the preseason, and later spent several weeks in October with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL.
The 6-1, 190-pound Saenz played in 52 games for the Cougars, racking up 248 tackles, five interceptions, 17 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He capped his collegiate career with a two-interception outing in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl, helping Houston defeat Penn State, 30-14. Saenz then ran an impressive 4.46 in the 40-yard dash at the Cougars’ Pro Day in March, helping to earn him the tryout in Buffalo.
Though there is just one week – and three practices – left in the Buccaneers’ 2012 season, Saenz signing isn’t necessarily a brief commitment for the young player or the team. All NFL practice squad players automatically become free agents as soon as their teams’ seasons are over, whether that be this coming Monday or later in the playoffs. However, it is not uncommon for the specific players who end a season on a team’s practice squad to quickly re-sign with that same team for the next offseason, agreeing to what is commonly called a “futures” contract that takes effect in March.
For instance, early this past January the Buccaneers re-signed five players that had finished 2011 on their practice squad, including TE Collin Franklin and QB Brett Ratliff. Days after the end of the 2010 season, all eight players that ended that campaign on the practice squad – including DE E.J. Wilson and WR Ed Gant – promptly re-signed with the Bucs.