Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers lock up key players with rapid-fire deals

TAMPA — If you simply monitor the comings and goings of the NFL's marquee free agents, you might conclude that things have been rather dull at One Buc Place this week.

To the contrary, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik has been busier than ever, scrambling to churn out key deals one after another. With the NFL open for business for barely 36 hours, Dominik by Wednesday night had negotiated contracts for the team's top three draft picks— first-rounder Adrian Clayborn, second-rounder Da'Quan Bowers and third-rounder Mason Foster — and came to terms on a $29 million agreement with Bucs unrestricted free agent linebacker Quincy Black.

Then, after hours, things really began heating up for Dominik and his staff. Team officials were headed to dinner in South Tampa on Wednesday evening with prized free agent guard Davin Joseph and close buddy Jeremy Trueblood, also a Bucs free agent offensive lineman.

Joseph cracked about the rendezvous via his Twitter account hours after lamenting the fact that he was still awaiting an offer from the team. Both players have consistently said they wish to remain in Tampa Bay.

"My agent, Ben Dogra, is having talks with other teams, but I don't know about any offers yet. I'm just waiting like everyone else," Joseph wrote.

The Bucs, who report for training camp today, haven't fulfilled the expectations of those who predicted they would be big players on the free agent market, pursuing players from other teams with their considerable salary cap space. They've instead continued to look inward, as promised.

Along those lines, the Clayborn deal was completed in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, before any other first-round pick had agreed to terms. Clayborn's four-year deal is reportedly worth $8.2 million and is fully guaranteed, according to ESPN. Bowers signed his deal in the afternoon and, according to Dominik, is in good physical shape after a January knee surgery that caused him to plummet in the draft.

The Bucs now have four of their eight drafts picks under contract and are optimistic about having the entire class in-house before Friday's first training camp practice.

Signing Black, 27, was high on the team's wish list. Dominik called Black's agent almost immediately after agent contact was available Tuesday, making his intentions clear. Tampa Bay is almost certainly moving forward without middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, but retaining Black, the strong-side linebacker, gives it a measure of continuity in the unit. Black wanted badly to stay with the team, too, and it rewarded him with a five-year deal that includes $11.5 million in guarantees.

"He's a kid who kind of grew up without family and had a rough time," agent Harold Lewis said. "Now, he's got a family with the Bucs."

Lewis said other unnamed teams expressed interest in Black, and it's unclear what he would have fetched on the open market. But Black told Lewis from the outset he would accept a reasonable offer from the Bucs even without talking with other clubs.

"Usually players say (to agents), 'Send me anywhere you want, wherever the money is,' " Lewis said. "Quincy didn't say that."

Expect the team to continue to focus on its free agents and perhaps augment the roster with second-tier free agents.

Dominik stressed that his philosophy of building through the draft and using free agency in small doses will not change despite roughly $50 million in salary cap space.

"There's a blueprint that's already sitting in front of you," he said this week.

Today is the last day before free agents can officially sign contracts as well as take visits to other teams on Friday. That makes it a key moment for Dominik as talks with Joseph and some of the team's remaining free agents continue. The Bucs are expected to have dialogue with Trueblood, defensive end Tim Crowder and, possibly, running back Cadillac Williams. Each is an unrestricted free agent.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers lock up key players with rapid-fire deals 07/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.

    Storm

    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    In this 1974 file photo, Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler looks to pass. Research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life _ evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. Stabler is among the cases previously reported. (AP Photo/File)
  2. How do Bucs players rank? SI puts 16 in their NFL top 400

    Blogs

    It's a fun exercise for Bucs fans: If you had to rank Tampa Bay's best players, how would your top 10 look?

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans, shown at mandatory minicamp last month, was ranked as the No. 70 player in the NFL by Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback. That's much lower than he was ranked in NFL Network's top 100 this summer.
  3. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener

    Blogs

    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.

  4. Stop expecting Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp

    Bucs

    Here's the problem when it comes to Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

    Photo from National Pediatric Cancer Foundation The crowd cheered wildly for cancer survivor Joshua Fisher, left, and Tampa Bay Buc Gerald McCoy at the 14th annual Fashion Funds the Cure on May 6 to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation at Port Tampa Bay Terminal 2.
  5. Orioles Buck Showalter's Trop takedown includes bullpen mounds, bathroom options, bladder problems

    Blogs

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of the Trop, and after Monday's 5-0 win he — with some prodding from O's TV man Gary Thorne — took a few more shots during their MASN interview, specifically about the location of the bullpen mounds, and the lack of bathroom facilities.

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of Tropicana Field.