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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Davin Joseph: Bucs' personnel moves will influence his free agency decisions



Whether guard Davin Joseph wants to remain with the Bucs is not in dispute.

“I’ve been here for five years and love the coaches, love the direction and love the community,” he said Tuesday at the team’s player-organized minicamp.

What’s much less clear, he said, is the team’s intentions on a couple of fronts. For one, how aggressively do the Bucs intend to pursue Joseph when the NFL returns to business after the conclusion of the lockout? And, further, what will be the team’s approach to retaining some of the key teammates Joseph thinks can help the Bucs win big right now.

“There are so many different variables that go into coming back,” Joseph said. “It's hard when it gets down to the money, and guaranteed money and how long your contract is, that’s tough. . . We all know it’s a business and that’s why we’re in a lockout now.

“If (the Bucs) were to say they were committed to signing back guys that we played with last year, it would definitely (encourage) me to stay. Guys like (Jeremy) Trueblood, guys like James Lee, guys on defense like Barrett Ruud. If you’re bringing guys like that back, then I know you’re about winning. It’s a step in the right direction instead of trying to reconstruct the whole roster. That’s not going to work to our benefit. Maybe in the long run, but we’re in a position where we can win now, and that’s exciting.”

If the collective bargaining agreement that’s still being negotiated between owners and players includes unrestricted free agency rights for players of four years of experience or more, as expected, Joseph will be one of several key Bucs free to sign with any team.

Joseph is considered one of the league’s better guards, and his power game is something the Bucs would miss if he departed. It’s expected the Bucs will make Joseph a priority once league business reopens. That would be just fine with Joseph.

“We do have something special here,” he said. “It would be great to be a part of this team.

“I’m optimistic about staying here in Tampa. This is where I want to be.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 6:13pm]


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