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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Buccaneers' first-round pick Freeman close to deal



Bucs first-round pick Josh Freeman looks like a good bet to be suited up for Saturday's first training camp workout.

Our information from inside One Buc Place indicates the sides are nearing an agreement and are making headway with intense negotiations ongoing on the few remaining issues.

Freeman, the 17th overall pick in the April NFL draft, has an outside chance of winning the starting job, so it is in his bes interest to not miss any practice time with a holdout. At this point, that looks very unlikely.

Freeman likely is looking at a deal that will pay a bit more but in the same ballpark as Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, last year's 18th overall pick. He received a 5-year deal with a potential maximum value of $30 million, including more than $8 million in guarantees. There are a boatload of incentives built into Flacco's deal, and we're told Freeman's contract is likely to be structured similarly.

It's unclear whether there will be a resolution today, but the talks were described to us as being "hot and heavy." That certainly sounds like a deal where both sides are, well, involved.

Whatever the case, chances look good right now for Freeman to report to camp on time Friday afternoon.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:35pm]


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