Garcia disappointed Bucs won't rip up his contract
You can add Jeff Garcia to the list of unhappy Bucs quarterbacks.
Garcia said Tuesday he's disappointed the team hasn't been willing to tear up his contract and reward him with a new deal that would enable him to finish his career in Tampa Bay.
Garcia, 38, has one year remaining on his contract that will pay him a base salary of $2-million in 2008. He went 8-6 as a starter for the Bucs last season, leading them to an NFC South title and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Non-rookie starting quarterbacks average between $7-million and $15-million a year in the NFL, making Garcia among the league's lowest-paid signal callers.
Following Tuesday's workout -- the first Organized Team Activity of the off-season -- Garcia was asked if he was disappointed by the lack of progress toward a new deal.
""You could say that,'' Garcia said. ""Talks haven't necessarily gone all that good.
""So in a way, it's disappointing. At this point in my career, I'm no longer 24 or 25 saying, "I'm going to prove to you I deserve this.' I feel like I've proved throughout my career. And I feel like at this time, it's time to just work with me and you know what I bring to the team. You know what I've done for the team and you know how much more I can do. And now I have a year under my system. So that's kind of where I'm at.''
There's another reason why Garcia may be unhappy with his contract. Because of the Bucs' decision to rest him the final two weeks of the regular season, he fell just short of participating in 70 percent of the team's offensive snaps, preventing him from achieving a seven-figure incentive bonus for playing time.
Coach Jon Gruden did not allow Garcia to play the second half of the Bucs' 21-19 loss at San Francisco Dec. 23. Garcia also was benched for the regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.
By not playing in those games, Garcia forfeited at least $1-million in bonus money.
Garcia is not required to attend the off-season workout program, which is voluntary. But he participated in Tuesday's practice as an act of good faith. Whether he continues to attend the remainder of OTA's or the off-season workout program remains to be seen, but he indicated his options are limited.
"'I really don't (have many options),'' Garcia said. ""I'm committed into a second year the way my contract is drawn up. Yes, I would like to rip it up and create a new one that allows me to finish off my career here. But we're not necessarily on the same page as far as that's concerned.''
Garcia, Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski were the only quarterbacks that attended practice Tuesday. Chris Simms is not participating in off-season workouts, presumably because he wants to be traded. Brian Griese, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bears in March, did not attend because of a commitment to a charity event.
Tuesday's practice with the Bucs marked the first time since 2003 with the 49ers that Garcia has begun an offseason with the team he played for in the previous one. After bouncing to the Browns, Lions and Eagles in consecutive seasons, he finally found a home under Gruden in Tampa Bay. In 2007, Garcia completed 209 of 307 passes for 2,440 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions for a passer rating of 94.6. He also was named the Bucs Most Valuable Player.
Garcia said Tuesday he has a chance to build upon the success he enjoyed in the Bucs offense a year ago.
""My head was swimming,'' Garcia said. ""When I heard the terminology (last year), I was still trying to figure it all out. And I'm not at that point. So now I can take off from where I am now and build upon that and going into the season, I just feel I'll be so much more confident and secure as to how to run this system as opposed to where I was last year. And last year, things didn't go all that bad.''