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Bucs likely won't be able to trade quarterback Simms

TAMPA — For sale: Left-handed quarterback, 27, with starting experience in the NFL. Hasn't played in 20 months. Good pedigree. Plenty of guts. Missing spleen. Must be willing to pick up $2-million salary. Any draft pick or best offer.

No team is buying what the Bucs are selling. At this point, it's very unlikely any will trade for Chris Simms.

Tampa Bay shopped Simms and Bruce Gradkowski during the draft last weekend with no success.

General manager Bruce Allen denied a report that two teams offered the Bucs a sixth- or seventh-round pick for Simms.

Two other club officials confirmed no teams contacted the Bucs about Simms, who hasn't played since rupturing his spleen Sept. 24, 2006.

Simms is boycotting the Bucs' offseason workouts in hopes of being traded or released. There are several reasons why no team is inclined to trade for him. Start with the fact he's scheduled to earn a $2-million base salary.

Simms maintains he is 100 percent healthy, but any team interested in trading for him would want to schedule a workout and medical evaluation.

Finally, whatever cravings a team had for dealing for Simms disappeared after the Bucs used a fifth-round pick for San Diego quarterback Josh Johnson.

The Bucs will have seven quarterbacks under contract, including Jake Plummer. Allen says the team will take five to training camp. That makes it almost a lock that Simms, 27, will be released some time beforehand.

"There's been a lot of people saying we have six quarterbacks," coach Jon Gruden said. "I haven't seen Plummer yet, and Chris, unfortunately, hasn't played in the last couple of years. (And) we have had a tremendous amount of injuries.

"We're not like some of these teams that have enjoyed the good fortune of having the same starter for five, six, eight, 12, 15 seasons. We've had three different starters play in (two out of the past four) seasons."

Jeff Garcia, 38, will be the starter. Brian Griese, 33, would appear to be his backup. That leaves Luke McCown, Gradkowski and Johnson battling for the No. 3 spot.

McCown, 26, is in the final year of his contract. He's entering his fifth season, meaning he probably needs to win the job over Griese for the No. 2 spot. The Bucs took Johnson in the fifth round hoping to use the next few seasons to develop him for the future. Don't look for them to try and sneak him onto the practice squad, which requires putting him through waivers.

"He's a charismatic guy," Gruden said of Johnson. "He's an athletic guy. He's raw. The timing of the patterns, the speed of the patterns, everything is different. So it's a big, beautiful candidate, but I'm really excited about him. … He learned quick, and it's just a matter of harnessing the fundamentals and putting it together with the ability. It'll take a while, but he'll get it."

As for Simms, he no longer fits into the depth chart. The Bucs believe he has value in part because they paid him more than $7-million over the past two seasons.

At best, they can wait until July and hope he reports to training camp and proves he's healthy in the preseason. Maybe by then, injuries will leave a team short at quarterback.

But Simms doesn't want to play in Tampa Bay anymore. The Bucs need to unload at least one quarterback.

It's a long summer, but it doesn't look like things are going to go as advertised.

Bucs likely won't be able to trade quarterback Simms 05/03/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 11:29am]
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