Darian Stewart signs with the Tampa Bay Bucs

Local Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed Huntsville native Darian Stewart, the team announced Tuesday.

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.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – NOVEMBER 13: Denver Broncos free safety Darian Stewart #26 celebrates his interception against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, LA Sunday, November 13, 2016. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Lee High School graduate 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.

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

DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 14: Darian Stewart (26) of the Denver Broncos is introduced to the game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Denver Broncos hosted the Los Angelos Rams at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, October 14, 2018. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

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.

CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 25: Darian Stewart #26 of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 29-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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.

©TEGNA Inc. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Get our WZDX News & Weather Apps