Grant coming to town
The word Thursday night was that Saints defensive end Charles Grant was to arrive in Tampa on Friday to visit the Bucs.
That's a pretty ambitious move by the Bucs to have Grant in for a visit considering he was designated New Orleans' franchise player, meaning acquiring him would come at a steep price for any suitor.
If the Bucs decided to sign Grant to an offer sheet, the Saints would have the right to match it. If they decide not to, Grant then would become property of the Bucs and would play under the contract outlined in the offer sheet. It would have to be a big one, too, considering Grant is scheduled to earn $8.6-million this fall under franchise player guidelines (the average of the five highest paid defensive ends). But an equally tough fact to swallow would be the two first round picks the Bucs would have to yield to New Orleans if the deal moved forward.
Of course, as is often the case with the Bucs, there could be more to this than meets the eye. Maybe the Bucs are just curious about Grant, possibly with an eye toward next year when he potentially becomes an unrestricted free agent. Or maybe, as some already have speculated, the Bucs are hoping to negotiate a trade for Grant. The Saints might be amenable to that considering they potentially could lose Grant without any compensation if he leaves as a free agent next season.
Time will tell, but this much we know: franchise players rarely get signed by other teams. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to mortgage a good portion of the future (two first-round picks) for a single player. With Tampa Bay picking fourth in this draft, it wouldn't seem like the Bucs would be willing to part with that pick without some serious soul searching.
Another issue for consideration: What would become of the Bucs current stable of defensive linemen? Simeon Rice is already the highest-paid player on the team and it would seem unlikely the Bucs would invest so richly in two defensive ends. Whether than means Rice ends up on the trading block remains to be seen. The fate of Greg Spires would also be a question, as he scheduled to earn more than $4-million this fall.