Steve Smith and Nate Kaeding Signings Won't Help Buccaneers Win NFC South

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 2, 2013

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Receiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added wide receiver Steve Smith and place-kicker Nate Kaeding on Tuesday, but it won't be a shock if neither player ends up on the team's final active roster at the beginning of the 2013 season. 

Both signings are low-risk moves by Tampa Bay, but they won't improve the team's chances at winning the NFC South.

Aaron Ross of the Baltimore Sun and Mike Garafolo of USA Today reported the signings:

Kaeding is a former Pro Bowler and All-Pro who is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. He's been plagued by injuries the past two seasons and has started just three games since 2011, though, and he won't supplant current starting kicker Connor Barth. 

Barth's contract in 2013 is fully guaranteed—a $2.3 million cap hit that ensures he'll be the team's kicker heading into this seasons, barring injury.

Simply put, Kaeding is a camp leg—nothing more, nothing less.

Smith, on the other hand, has a chance to make the team.

That said, he'll have to battle it out with Kevin Ogletree and Tiquan Underwood for any chance at seeing playing time on Sundays. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have the starting gigs wrapped up, and neither player will be threatened by Smith.

Smith, who was once a burgeoning star with the New York Giants, hasn't been a productive player in the NFL since 2010, when he suffered a knee injury. He underwent microfracture surgery in December of 2010.

Unfortunately, he never recovered the burst that helped him catch 107 passes for 1,220 and seven touchdowns in 2009. Since his surgery, Smith has caught just 25 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown the past two seasons. 

It isn't likely that he'll break through and play a big role for the Buccaneers in 2013. 

Ogletree was just signed via free agency, and he has the best chance of anyone on the roster to see significant playing time along with Jackson and Williams. Underwood showed promise last season, too, catching 28 passes and showing the ability to stretch the field. 

Kaeding and Smith will likely end up as camp fodder in 2013, and neither man will impact the team's chances of overtaking the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. 


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