Carl Nassib, the first out gay NFL player to make a regular season 53-man roster, has signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Nassib, a defensive end who played for the Las Vegas Raiders last year, was a free agent, meaning he had not yet been signed to any team and was at risk of potentially sitting out the year unless a team developed a need for a veteran pass rusher or edge defender.
According to a tweet from Greg Auman of The Athletic, Nassib, who was first drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016, signed a $1.035 million base salary, with a $152,500 signing bonus. His earnings will only count $1.05 million against the salary cap, making him a cheaper option than former Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul, who is also a free agent after having played for the Bucs on a 2-year, $25 million contract and had a quiet season last year, only registering 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three tackles for a loss, according to Bleacher Report.
Last year, Nassib appeared in 13 of 17 games for the Raiders, finishing the season with 21 tackles, 1.5 sacks and three tackles for a loss.
Nassib previously played for the Bucs in 2018 and 2019, collecting 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 29 appearances under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who confirmed that Nassib had signed with the team.
“He brings a lot of energy, a lot of toughness,” Bowles said in a press conference on Tuesday. “We look forward to him coming here.”
It remains to be seen if Nassib will make the team at roster cutdown time, just prior to the start of the regular season — when all teams, including the Bucs, have to reduce their training camp roster from 90 to 53 players.
Nassib came out last year on social media while playing for the Raiders. In an Instagram video, the rotational defensive end explained how blessed he feels to play football, and committed to learning more about the LGBTQ community.
“I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” he said in the video. “I’m a pretty private person, but I just think representation and visibility are so important.”
Following his coming out, many people congratulated him, including President Joe Biden, who, in a message to Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama, a National Women’s Soccer League player who came out as a transgender man, expounded upon the importance of LGBTQ role models.
“I’m so proud of your courage,” the president said. “Because of you, countless kids around the world are seeing themselves in a new light today.”
In a press conference following his announcement, Nassib talked about how it felt to be out in the NFL and to the larger world.
“I thought nobody would care,” he said at the time. “But it was such a good feeling to have all the support. I was glad I could do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community.”
He also said that coming out had been “a great weight off my shoulders…. It’s been good to not have to lie when I come in to work every day.”
Nassib has previously used his platform as the NFL’s only currently active gay player to raise funds for The Trevor Project, the nation’s top LGBTQ crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization. After Nassib donated $100,000 to the organization following his coming out announcement, the NFL matched the donation the following day, with the Raiders matching the donation on March 1, 2022. In June 2022, in recognition of Pride Month, Nassib announced he was going to provide a 1:1 match for all donations made to The Trevor Project up to $100,000.
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