Bucs, Ruud agree on at least one thing
If there are any hard feelings between the Bucs and soon-to-be free agent LB Barrett Ruud, it doesn’t appear they will be an impediment to his potential return.
During a wide-ranging interview during Senior Bowl workouts today, general manager Mark Dominik expressed a desire to have dialogue with Ruud and his agents before the start of the free agency period.
Later, in a text-message exchange with the Times, Ruud reaffirmed that – under the right circumstances – he’s open to returning.
But that’s where things get murky. The Bucs seem unsure of Ruud’s contract demands and Ruud likely isn’t totally clear about his own market value as a free agent. The mutual desire to work things out guarantees nothing.
“I’ve just got to sit down with his agent,” Dominik said. “As things always go with negotiations, there’s two sides to it. Just because they say they want to be back or you say you want to sign them doesn’t mean that that’s how it’s going to work out. We haven’t gotten into those discussions yet.”
When they eventually start talks, the sides will have to overcome their past differences. Ruud has been seeking a long-term contract extension from the team for two years. When he was made an offer of unknown value more than a year ago, his camp deemed it unworthy of discussing.
Ruud is a key component of coach Raheem Morris’ defense, particularly because of his many pre-snap assignments that include calling the defense and making necessary adjustments. And he apparently has a fan in Dominik, too.
“I thought Barrett had another good season for us,” Dominik said. “He obviously led our team in tackles again. I think he had more splash plays this year than he did the year before, which is good. And now we’re just kind of sitting back.”
As for the team’s other key free agents – including CB Ronde Barber, G Davin Joseph and LB Quincy Black – none have had substantive conversations with the Bucs yet, but Dominik said he intends to have dialogue with them all soon.