No franchise tag for WR Antonio Bryant
Teams can begin applying the franchise tag to players beginning today, but receiver Antonio Bryant will be losing that designation from the Bucs.
Bryant, 28, earned $9.88-million last season as the Bucs' franchise player. But he struggled to recover from knee surgery and had only 39 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns last season.
That performance fell considerably short of 2008, when Bryant caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns.
Not all the blame belongs to Bryant. While he was slow to recover from surgery to repair a torn meniscus during training camp and missed the preseason, the Bucs fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the start of the regular season. Tampa Bay also used three quarterbacks in eight games, including two making their first NFL starts -- Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman.
The Bucs' passing game also ran through tight end Kellen Winslow.
Bryant is set to become an unrestricted free agent. In fact, the Bucs are not expected to use their franchise or transition player tag on any player in 2010.
The Bucs could still re-sign Bryant as a free agent or consider trading for a veteran receiver like the Broncos' Brandon Marshall, who likely could be acquired for a second-round pick.
A year ago, the Bucs traded their second- and fifth-round pick to Cleveland for Winslow.