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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Penn, Ruud get highest tenders from Bucs. Trueblood given less as second-round tender



General manager Mark Dominik let some players know this week how much they are valued by the Bucs.

Some will be happier than others.

Left tackle Donald Penn was given a first- and third-round tender ($3.168-million). Linebacker Barrett Ruud was given a first- and third-round tender ($3.268-million). But right tackle Jeremy Trueblood was given a tender for his original second round draft pick ($1.759-million).

By placing the highest possible tenders on Penn and Ruud, and the second-highest on Williams, it will make it virtually impossible for those players to leave as restricted free agents. Not only do the Bucs own the right of first refusal on any offer sheet they may sign with another team, they could demand a combination of high draft picks as compensation of they chose not to match.

Penn has been seeking a long-term extension and is dismayed by the tender, according to his agent.

"They're basically admitting he is one of the best tackles in the league," agent Rocky Arceneaux told The Times. "I think this is ridiculous."

But Dominik said he believed players like Penn and Ruud ultimately are rewarded.

"I think at the end of the day, the players that perform get rewarded in this league,'' Dominik said. "Them being restricted or a second-year player like (Jeremy) Zuttah as a starter, or anybody in the this league -- at the end of the day, if you play well, you get rewarded in this league. I fundamentally believe that.''

Running back Cadillac Williams was technically tendered as a first-round pick, but will be offered a contract at 110 percent of his 2009 salary. It also means that any bonuses or incentives from last year's contract will carry over to his 2010 contract.

"Carnell has to decide what he wants to do, obviously, but once he accepts the 110-perncet offer, it's a deal,'' Bucs General Manager Mark Dominik said Friday. "Once he does that, he's under contract.''

The Bucs did not tender receiver Brian Clark, linebacker Matt McCoy and fullback Byron Storer. Dominik says he still has to officially offer tenders to receiver Maurice Stovall, receiver Mark Bradley and linebacker Rod Wilson.

The Bucs are expected to release several veteran players by March 5, a list that likely will include punters Josh Bidwell and Dirk Johnson. Both finished the season on injured reserve last season.

"If we do something, I would do something sooner than later,'' Dominik said.

Penn, Ruud and Williams would have been unrestricted free agents, but with no extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, 2010 is an uncapped year, meaning all three players will be restricted free agents.

That likely will lead to Ruud and Penn not participating in the Bucs' off-season workout program or any voluntary Organized Team Activities.

The Bucs haven't made a decision on quarterback Byron Leftwich. The Bucs have four quarterbacks under contract, including Josh Freeman, Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter.

"Right now, he's on the team,'' Dominik said of Leftwich. "I talked to his agent, Tom Condon, yesterday and just said right now we have four quarterbacks under contract and I don't mind that. We'll just see how this thing plays out.''

"It's our choice and we've got to see how Byron likes his position here just like I want to see Alex Van Pelt's opinion. There's no timetable.''



[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:55pm]


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