Franchise deadline and Berrian decision looming
The deadline to designate franchise or transition players arrives at 4 p.m. today, and there could be some last-minute decisions.
The Bears are a team to watch. With the Bucs in the market for a receiver, they'll be interested in learning what Chicago intends to do with Bernard Berrian, who hasn't yet been franchised. If the Bears do tag him, Berrian isn't likely to go anywhere because of the hefty compensation that would be required of a suitor. Randy Moss will be another 11th-hour decision, though no one seems to think Moss will get away from the Patriots even if he enters unrestricted free agency. Moss and New England are working toward a contract extension and will continue to do so even if the Patriots tag him.
Some good players have already have been taken off the unrestricted market after being franchised, including Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant and massive Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. We'll know later today how many other intriguing free agents are franchised, making them largely unavailable to the Bucs.
It's assumed the Bucs aren't going to use the franchise tag because, frankly, they don't have any free agents worthy of such a designation.
We'll see how the day goes. Stay tuned.