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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Ex-USF DE Selvie expected to sign with Bucs

Former USF defensive end George Selvie, a two-time All-American with the Bulls, is expected to sign with the Bucs on Tuesday as a free agent.

Selvie, 26, has 42 tackles in three NFL seasons -- one with the Rams, then briefly with the Panthers and most of the last two with the Jaguars, including 15 tackles in 2012. He has three career sacks, including one last season.

Selvie, now 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, was a national star when USF rose to No. 2 in the national rankings in 2007, earning consensus All-America honors after totaling 14.5 sacks and an NCAA-high 31.5 tackles for loss. He remains USF's only two-time All-American and was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round in 2010.

At defensive end, the Bucs lost free agent Michael Bennett, who signed with the Seahawks, and Selvie should help provide depth for Tampa Bay's pass rush.

-- Greg Auman, Times staff writer


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Bucs sign RT Dotson to four-year deal

Demar Dotson signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and was converted from defensive to offensive tackle.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Demar Dotson signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and was converted from defensive to offensive tackle.

Demar Dotson has gone from project to prospect.

Dotson, a former basketball player at Southern Mississippi who played only one year of organized football on the defensive line, signed a four-year contract worth $4.5-million Thursday, the team announced.

Last March, the Bucs signed Dotson to a 2-year, $2.5-million contract as a restricted free agent. The 6-foot-9, 315-pound Dotson wound up taking over the starting right tackle job from Jeremy Trueblood in Week 2 last season.

Under terms of the new contract, Dotson will earn $2-million in 2013, including a $1-million roster bonus. His new deal has base salaries of $1.25-million in 2014, $1.5-million in 2015 and $1.75-million in 2016.

Dotson signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and was converted from defensive to offensive tackle.

“He brings incredible work ethic and focus and commitment to get better,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of Dotson at the NFL owners meetings. “And when you get those two guards back (Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph) back, that makes his life better, too.’’

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Bucs sign Dotson to four-year deal

Demar Dotson played in all 16 games last season, starting the final 15 at right tackle.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Demar Dotson played in all 16 games last season, starting the final 15 at right tackle.

The Bucs have signed tackle Demar Dotson to a four-year contract. Here is the official release from the team:

BUCCANEERS SIGN T DOTSON TO FOUR-YEAR DEAL

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have signed T Demar Dotson to a four-year deal.

Dotson played in all 16 games last season, starting the final 15 games at right tackle. He was a key member of the Buccaneers offensive line, which tied for the third-fewest sacks allowed in the NFL in 2012, and helped QB Josh Freeman set team records in passing yards (4,065) and passing touchdowns (27). Dotson also helped block for Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin, who rushed for the second-most yards (1,454) and touchdowns (11) in franchise history.


Dotson originally joined the Buccaneers as a college free agent in 2009, and has played in 38 career games with 17 starts.

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Who did we pick in NFL Network's mock draft?

You’re going to see and hear lots about mock drafts in the coming weeks now that we’re one month shy of the NFL draft.

So, why not get started with an interesting one that we participated in?

This morning, on NFL Network’s NFL AM show, I was asked to take part in a mock draft they’ve been conducting with experts on various teams. With the previous 12 picks made by media in the respective cities, today was my turn to pick for the Bucs.

But before we get to my pick, let’s run down the first 12 selections made in the preceding shows.

1. Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2. Jaguars: DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

3. Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

4. Eagles: OT Eric Fisher, Cental Michigan

5. Lions: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

6. Browns: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

7. Cardinals: G Chance Warmack, Alabama

8. Bills: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

9. Jets: LB/DE Dion Jordan, Oregon

10. Titans: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU

11. Chargers: LT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

12. Dolphins: CB Marcus Trufant, Washington

That brings us to the Bucs, at No. 13. I went with Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. …

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Clearing up the NFL’s minimum spending requirements

When you consider that the Bucs are preparing to do possible contract extensions for Mike Williams  and others, it’s hard to imagine the team having much trouble meeting the spending minimums.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

When you consider that the Bucs are preparing to do possible contract extensions for Mike Williams and others, it’s hard to imagine the team having much trouble meeting the spending minimums.

Many readers, in emails and story comments, have referenced the NFL’s collectively-bargained, team-by-team spending minimums that go into effect this year under the league’s labor agreement.

The subject usually comes up when the conversation turns to the Bucs’ lack of aggressive spending so far in free agency, the obvious exception being safety Dashon Goldson’s $41 million contract. For a team with a massive amount of salary-cap space, even that deal leaves them with roughly $27 million in salary-cap space.

How can this be in an era when the league has instituted firm spending minimums designed to prevent the sort of thing the Bucs used to be infamous for – sitting on millions in unspent salary-cap space for years on end?

It’s a little complicated, but the details are important.

The most critical part of this is how these minimums are calculated. You might recall hearing that teams must spend at least 89 percent of the salary cap under the current collective bargaining agreement. …

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Evaluating the Bucs' non-Revis cornerback options

Mike Jenkins is from Manatee County and would likely find the Bucs appealing, but there’s been a very soft market for him to this point.

AP photo

Mike Jenkins is from Manatee County and would likely find the Bucs appealing, but there’s been a very soft market for him to this point.

In case you’re wondering, no, the Bucs haven’t signed a cornerback yet. They still want Darrelle Revis, but that deal with the Jets continues to hang in the balance.

With that said, we know (or assume) the Bucs are going to add some cornerbacks – at some point. And that leaves an important question: Who’s even out there?

The big names among free-agent cornerbacks this year, in retrospect, were more names than anything else. The passive posture taken by teams toward available cornerbacks confirms this.

Only a handful of the better cornerbacks have even been signed, leaving numerous players with varying degrees of past success still available. As the Bucs look to improve what was, statistically, the NFL’s worst secondary, here’s a sampling of the free agents they’ll be choosing from (keeping in mind they might draft multiple cornerbacks next month).

(2012 team in parenthesis)

Nnamdi Asomugha (Eagles): He reportedly is nearing a deal with either the Saints or 49ers and hasn’t been connected to Tampa Bay. But he’s among the best cornerbacks still available despite his struggles last season. …

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Bucs' Barber still undecided on return or retirement

Ronde Barber said he would have to consider less playing time.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Ronde Barber said he would have to consider less playing time.

Bucs defensive back Ronde Barber says he needs more time to decide whether he will return for a 17th season.

Appearing on NFL Network Monday, Barber acknowledged that his role will change after the signing of 49ers safety Deshon Goldson.

"I'm going to be a young 38 like I told you earlier,'' Barber said.

A 17th season?

"Perhaps. I have not made a decision yet,'' Barber said. "They've allowed me to not rush the decision so I'm not going to rush it.'

When will he made a decision? "I wish I could tell you,'' he said.

Barber says he's had the opportunity to play for another team as a free agent the past three years, "but we've had an understanding that I would always be back in Tampa,'' he said.

Barber described Goldson as a 'pretty good player,' but said the signing does not affect his decision.

"I met with Mark (Dominik) and coach (Greg) Schiano and we had a discussion. I knew they were going to be active in free agency,'' Barber said. "It's the same discussion I had last year when they told me they were going to go out and get a corner in free agency and it would neccessitate a position change or some kind of role change. I had a similar conversation this year.'' …

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If he returns to Bucs, Ronde Barber would still have big role

If Ronde Barber returns to the Bucs, it’s safe to assume he’ll play an important role in the slot or near the line of scrimmage in passing situations.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

If Ronde Barber returns to the Bucs, it’s safe to assume he’ll play an important role in the slot or near the line of scrimmage in passing situations.

The Bucs have made it clear to Ronde Barber and everyone else that they’re going to proceed with rebuilding their secondary regardless of the safety's decision to retire or continue playing for a 17th season.

In that regard, what ultimately happens with one of our region’s most beloved athletes might seem secondary as it relates to the Bucs’ offseason plans. After all, the Bucs have already replaced Barber, signing All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson, the presumptive starting free safety.

But, the reality is, in a league where rosters are limited to 53 players, whether Barber elects to return is actually a big deal.

It’s safe to assume he’ll play an important role in the slot or near the line of scrimmage in passing situations. And in today’s NFL, that’s about half the defensive snaps. That’s not a bit role, but quite an important one. …

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Former Bucs WR Benn still hoping for big things

Arrelious Benn had a combined 836 yards in 2010 and 2011, when he started a total of 23 games.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Arrelious Benn had a combined 836 yards in 2010 and 2011, when he started a total of 23 games.

It’s often beneficial for players to be seen by another set of eyes, whether when a new coach takes over or after the player changes teams.

This is quite true in the case of former Bucs receiver Arrelious Benn, who was traded to the Eagles last week and already has received a one-year contract extension. Benn’s rookie deal was scheduled to expire after the coming season, but the Eagles decided to add another season to his contract, according to the team.

In an interview this week, Benn talked about his struggles during the past three seasons in Tampa Bay, attributing his lack of production mostly to injuries.

“If I’m being honest, I don’t like my career,” he said. “I have to stay healthy. I haven’t stayed healthy; I’ve had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy and out there, I made plays. I was consistent. But the big thing for me is to stay healthy.”

There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Benn, drafted in the second round in 2010, had his share of impressive plays in his first two seasons. However, the consistency was not always there. He had a combined 836 yards in 2010 and 2011, when he started a total of 23 games. …

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No country for old men? Some believe Barber will surprise again

Brian Urlacher said the Bears weren't being genuine when they said they wanted him to stay with the team. Charles Woodson was released by the Packers. Ed Reed took the money and ran to the Texans.

It's been a tough few weeks for some of the NFL's iconic players. It's just a reminder that loyalty -- like longevity -- is a rare thing in this league.

Which brings us to Ronde Barber. Sometime in the next few days, coach Greg Schiano will contact the Bucs' Pro Bowl defensive back to gently probe for his decision. Barber, who will be 38 next month, has been offered a chance to return for a 17th season. However, with the signing of safety Dashon Goldson, he most likely won't be a starter.

"I don't want him to feel pressured at all,'' Schiano said. "He's the epitome of a Buc and I really want him to do what he feels is best. If he comes back, that's good for us. If he doesn't come back because that's what he decided to do, then good for him. I thought he played well and I have some visions of what he can do.''

But what will Barber do? Believe it or not, those close to him believe he will play. The reason? He played too well in 2012 to consider retirement. …

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In reality, Greg Schiano is 'married' to Josh Freeman

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano is married to quarterback Josh Freeman, and that’s a fact, Stephen F. Holder writes.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano is married to quarterback Josh Freeman, and that’s a fact, Stephen F. Holder writes.

Bucs coach Greg Schiano’s media session at the NFL meetings on Wednesday featured, predictably, a lot of talk about quarterback Josh Freeman.

Schiano’s comments after the season in which he indicated he’d like more competition behind Freeman introduced all kinds of questions about the way he views the player the Bucs have always portrayed as their franchise quarterback.

Naturally, the questions are still coming.

As Rick Stroud reported from Phoenix, Schiano, in a way, said all the right things. He reinforced that he thinks the Bucs can and will win with Freeman and that he believes Freeman is going to have a “great” season.

But Schiano tempered those laudatory comments with some (valid) criticisms while adding that he’s not “married” to Freeman.

“I've said I believe we can win and achieve all the goals we want with Josh Freeman as our quarterback. But to say you're married, well, nobody is married to anyone in this game,” Schiano said. “The reality is this is a performance-based game. You've got to win. They're not married to me. You've got to win or I'm not going to be the coach. Everybody in this game gets that.”

One quibble: Schiano is married to Freeman, and that’s a fact. …

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Video: What moves will Bucs make next?

Will Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis become a Buc?

Getty Images

Will Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis become a Buc?

With a lot of talk centered around the potential acquistion of the Jets' Darrelle Revis, Stephen F. Holder and Tom Jones look at other areas the Bucs may try to improve -- whether through trade, the draft or free agency. [Brent Puckett | tampabay.com]


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Bucs free agent E.J. Biggers signs on with Redskins

E.J. Biggers started 12 games in 2012 when, originally, he was intended to be the No. 3 cornerback.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

E.J. Biggers started 12 games in 2012 when, originally, he was intended to be the No. 3 cornerback.

For the second week in a row, the Redskins have signed a Bucs free agent.

This time, it’s cornerback E.J. Biggers, who reunites with Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris, the Bucs’ former coach who was at the helm when Biggers was drafted in 2009.

The Redskins, like the Bucs, had a glaring need for talent in their secondary, and Biggers, at minimum, provides depth and competition. His role with the Bucs the last two seasons was bigger than the team intended, including in 2012 when Biggers started 12 games when, originally, he was intended to be the No. 3 cornerback.

It’s likely the Bucs could have re-signed Biggers had they made a concerted effort, but they seemed to have been lukewarm about the prospect of re-signing him.

Obviously, the questions about the Bucs’ plans in the secondary remain, as right now they really don’t have a pair of starting caliber cornerbacks (with the exception of Eric Wright, who may not even stick around).

The Redskins last week signed former Bucs offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood, a move likely influenced by Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who was the GM in Tampa Bay when Trueblood was drafted in 2006.

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Ogletree adds needed competition to Bucs' receiving unit

Kevin Ogletree has just 57 career receptions, but he’s a veteran and began to emerge last season before tailing off late.

Getty Images

Kevin Ogletree has just 57 career receptions, but he’s a veteran and began to emerge last season before tailing off late.

You’re undoubtedly aware the Bucs have not yet addressed their lack of cornerback depth during this free agency period, although the signing of safety Dashon Goldson vastly improves the secondary. But stop obsessing over the pass defense for just a brief moment.

There was actually a notable signing on the offensive side that we’ve failed to adequately address.

When the Bucs signed Cowboys free agent receiver Kevin Ogletree last week, the transaction went mostly under the radar, coming in the midst of the Darrelle Revis speculation and on the heels of the Goldson signing.

But it was an important move nonetheless. The Bucs are fond of saying they want competition at every position. Sometimes they’ve actually taken steps to ensure that. At other times, that’s been less true. But this move clearly is a case of putting actions behind words.

Can Olgetree earn the No. 3 receiver spot behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams? We’ll see. He’ll battle with Tiquan Underwood during the offseason and in training camp. But the mere fact that there will be a position battle is progress. …

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Glazers take blame for playoff drought, blackouts: 'We have to get it right on the field'

There have been nothing but dark days lately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: a five year playoff drought, three head coaches in five seasons and slumping attendance that has led to blackouts.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer knows it has been a painful period. "I don't know how to describe how it feels,'' Glazer said Tuesday. "It rips you apart on the inside. Every fan feels that way.''

Speaking at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix, Glazer said the Bucs ownership takes full responsibility for the Bucs' lack off success.

"There's no question we have to take responsibility,'' Glazer said. "Not being in the playoffs for five years, there's no question that is a contributing factor. So we have to get it right on the field and we're committed to doing that and determined to doing that and I'm optimistic about this upcoming season. I feel good about our football team.''

Glazer said despite a 7-9 record, he was pleased with the first-year performance of coach Greg Schiano, who made the transition from college to the NFL. …

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