Buccaneers linebacker Barrett Ruud says talk of contract premature
An NFL.com report this week suggested the Bucs and star middle linebacker Barrett Ruud are engaged in talks about a contract extension, but Ruud said today there has been no change on that front and the sides aren't talking.
Ruud, who is in the final year of a five-year contract, stayed away from voluntary workouts during the summer as a silent protest to his lack of an extension. In his defense, he has not uttered a word about it in public since voicing his discontent during June's mini-camp.
The problem is, as things currently stand with the collective bargaining agreement, the league is on pace for an uncapped year in 2010. That means players with Ruud's level of experience will not become free agents as they would under a capped system. So, the Bucs are, perhaps, rolling the dice and betting they'll be able to retain him as a restricted free agent. Under that scenario, the Bucs would be able to match any competing offer for Ruud and would be protected against losing him.
In any event, if Ruud is to be believed -- and I do believe him -- there aren't really any talks ongoing at the moment.