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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Plummer Deal Nearly Done; Griffith visits

2

March

It looks like Jake the Snake will wind his way through One Buc Place.

   The Bucs and Broncos have reached an agreement in principle to send Denver quarterback Jake Plummer to Tampa Bay, this after a strong push by the Bucs late Thursday to orchestrate the trade. The Broncos are expected to receive a mid-round draft pick in exchange, possible a fourth-round choice.

     Look for Plummer to compete with Chris Simms for the starting job in training camp, allowing coach Jon Gruden to make good on his assurance that there likely would be a quarterback competition in the fall.

   The Bucs wasted no time jumping into market with free agency beginning at 12:01 this morning. Just prior to the start of the signing period, word quickly spread in NFL circles the Bucs were on the verge of making the deal for Plummer.

  Elsewhere, Atlanta Falcons fullback Justin Griffith will visit the Bucs today, one day after the team signed fullback Mike Alstott to a one-year, $1.5-million contract.

   Alstott's role may change again in '07 if the Bucs are able to land Griffith, who could be used as a lead blocker for Cadillac Williams.

   The Bucs also have targeted Cincinnati Bengals guard Eric Steinbach, who will visit the Bucs on Saturday according to his representative. Steinbach could play either left guard or left tackle for the Bucs. 

   Plummer, 32, also has drawn interest from the Houston Texans where he would be reunited with former Broncos quarterbacks coach Gary Kubiak.

   The Bucs entered the free agent signing period Friday intent on upgrading the quarterback position. There were many possibilities, but trading for Plummer was Gruden's first priority. That became clear when the Bucs backed off from their pursuit of Eagles free agent Jeff Garcia Brad Johnson, who was released by the Vikings this week.

With Plummer, the Bucs get a player who is just one season removed from taking the Broncos to the AFC Championship game. But the veteran became expendable when he surrendered his job last season to rookie Jay Cutler. He has three years remaining on his contract, which might be restructured. Plummer is scheduled to earn base salaries of $5.3-million in '07, $4.8-million in '08 and $5.8-million in '09.

  The Bucs have more than $24-million to spend on free agency. It's going to be a wild week, so hang on.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:44pm]

    

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