McFarland Traded for Draft Pick
The Bucs on Tuesday traded defensive tackle Anthony McFarland to the Indianapolis Colts, ending McFarland's eight-year run with the team that drafted him.
The deal, which came just before the NFL's 4 p.m. trading deadline, nets the Bucs a second-round pick in 2007.
When reached Tuesday night, McFarland said he was looking forward to being reunited with Colts coach Tony Dungy, who was responsible for making him the Bucs' first-round pick in '99.
""First, let me say this: Tony was a guy I've always looked up to, somebody that was part of a staff that brought me to this league, and getting a chance to be back with him is special,'' McFarland said. ""I leave a lot of friends in the Bucs organization and everybody treated me very well. But it's time to turn the chapter in my professional career. I'm an Indianapolis Colt now and I'm moving ahead.''
McFarland said he learned of the trade after being telephoned by Bucs general manager Bruce Allen shortly after the 4 p.m. deadline.
""I don't look at it as a re-start,'' McFarland said. ""From the standpoint of being a defensive tackle in the NFL, it's just the continuation of something that's been built.''
McFarland often was seen as underachieving in the Bucs' Cover 2 system that relies heavily on pressure from interior defensive linemen. But McFarland remains capable of big plays and recorded several in Tampa Bay's victory against Bengals on Sunday.
McFarland's salary likely was a contentious issue for the Bucs. His base salary of $4.5-million was somewhat difficult to justify based on production. But for the Colts, the glaring need for a pass rush makes paying McFarland worthwhile.
The deal reunites McFarland with his first coach, Tony Dungy.
"It's a great situation," McFarland's agent Karl Bernard said. "He's going to a team where he and his coach have a great relationship. And they have remained in contact over the years. He also has a chance to go to a team whose needs fit. I think he'll do well there."
McFarland's departure likely presses backup lineman Ellis Wyms into a full-time starting role for the first time in his career. Wyms has been invaluable as a backup, recording two sacks against Cincinnati.
"I'm ready to do whatever they ask," said Wyms, who expressed shock when informed of the news by a reporter. "I guess we'll have to wait and see if they sign somebody else."
In other news, former first-round pick Phillip Buchanon, released by the Texans on Monday, signed a one-year deal with the Bucs on Tuesday, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told the St. Petersburg Times.
The cornerback will provide depth at a position that has been thin of late because of the absence of starter Brian Kelly, who is dealing with a case of turf toe and has missed three of the past four games.
Buchanon, a 26-year-old in his fifth season out of the University of Miami, was considered an underachiever and injury-prone in Houston. But the Bucs hope a new start will motivate Buchanon to reach the potential most believed he had when he came out of school.
"It's a great fit for him," Rosenhaus said. "He's from the Fort Myers area, so he's close to home, and he has a real chance to help the team as a cornerback and as a punt returner. They haven't promised him anything, but they will definitely give him an opportunity, which is all he wants."
Buchanon was drafted by the Raiders and Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, then the Oakland GM. Buchanon played sparingly this season, recording two tackles, but in his best year, 2003, he recorded a season-high six interceptions.
Photo of Booger McFarland by the Times' Bill Serne.
Photo of Phillip Buchanon by the Associated Press.
Click photos to enlarge.