TAMPA — The Bucs resolved two important situations on Friday, trading receiver Arrelious Benn to the Eagles only hours after it was revealed they won a contract dispute with cornerback Eric Wright.
The team had been shopping Benn, a 2010 second-round draft pick who was shipped out for a 2013 sixth-round pick and a conditional 2014 choice. The Bucs also sent a 2013 seventh-rounder to Philadelphia.
Injuries and inconsistent performance undermined Benn's place with the Bucs. He caught 59 passes for 862 yards and made 24 starts in three years. But in 2011, he played while coming off knee surgery and in 2012 he battled a preseason knee injury and a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve.
Even before going on IR, Benn was pushed aside by journeyman Tiquan Underwood for the role of slot/No. 3 receiver.
The Bucs reportedly also have been shopping running back LeGarrette Blount who, like Benn, has seen his production drop since his rookie season. The Bucs claimed him off waivers in 2010 from the Titans.
Blount, after rushing for 1,007 yards in 2010, had just 151 on 41 carries playing behind star rookie Doug Martin in 2012.
As for Wright, an arbitrator ruled for the team in a dispute over the Bucs' ability to void the guarantees in his contract. A guaranteed 2013 base salary of $7.75 million is at issue, with the team intending to void the guarantee based on Wright's failure to complete the 2012 season after his suspension for performance-enhancing substances.
The Bucs may void Wright's guarantees and release him with no financial consequences.
Under the section of the collective bargaining agreement governing player contracts, it states that a player who "fails to report, practice or play with the result that the player's ability to fully participate and contribute to the team is substantially undermined" can be subject to salary and bonus forfeiture.
Wright's lawyers and the players union contended that the language was not specific enough to apply to his situation. But arbitrator Shyam Das disagreed, saying the team's actions are covered under the contract language.
Also Friday, the Bucs lost free-agent nose tackle Roy Miller to the Jaguars, as he reunited with former Bucs assistant Gus Bradley, the new coach in Jacksonville. Miller signed a two-year deal and decided weeks ago he was likely headed elsewhere based on the Bucs' contract offers. Miller, 25, started 14 games in 2012 and was Tampa Bay's third-round draft choice in 2009. He figures to be a replacement for former Jags tackle Terrance Knighton, who signed this week with the Broncos.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3377. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow him on Twitter at @HolderStephen.