Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Graham, Bucs agree to contract extension

TAMPA — Earnest Graham's patience finally paid off.

Big time.

The Bucs running back has agreed to a four-year deal worth $11-million, ending any possibility of a training camp holdout.

The agreement was reported Sunday night by Graham, 28, did not participate in voluntary workouts or the offseason workout program, presumably because he wanted a contract extension. He did take part in mandatory minicamp.

Terms of the deal have not been released, so it's not known how much of that $11-million is guaranteed or if it includes a signing bonus.

Graham could not be reached Sunday night. But he had expressed optimism that an agreement would be reached before training camp. He downplayed his absence from the offseason workout program — which has been his routine for most of his five-year pro career.

"I'm doing the same thing I've always done," Graham said earlier this year. "I'm working hard in the offseason and getting ready for camp. That other thing will take care of itself."

The former Florida Gator emerged as a starter for the first time last season after injuries to Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman. Graham, whose rushing high was 83 yards in 2005, totaled 898 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He will be an integral part of a backfield that includes Warrick Dunn, 33, and Michael Bennett, 29.

While Graham took the silent approach, quarterback Jeff Garcia has been vocal about his disgust over the lack of progress in his talks with the Bucs on a contract extension. With Graham in the fold, the team could turn its attention to reaching an accord with the 38-year-old.

Graham, who was entering the final year of his contract that would have paid him a base salary of about $600,000, has said others deserve to be rewarded.

"I think a lot of people stood up and played well," he said. "I think a lot of people benefited from what happened last year, and I think everybody will be taken care of."

There's still plenty of time before the team reports to training camp July 25.

Graham, Bucs agree to contract extension 06/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 1:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.