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Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign receiver Arrelious Benn

TAMPA — Mark Dominik crossed off another item from his pre-training camp checklist as the Bucs attempt to get every rookie under contract before Friday's report date.

The Bucs general manager said he also is making progress on a five- or six-year deal for Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the third overall pick.

On Tuesday, the Bucs signed receiver Arrelious Benn, one of two second-round picks for the Bucs in April, to a four-year deal.

Benn, who got a $2.1 million signing bonus, was picked 39th overall out of Illinois and is positioned to see extensive playing time.

Only McCoy and Virginia Tech defensive back Cody Grimm, a seventh-round pick, are unsigned.

McCoy dined Monday night in Tampa with Dominik during an event for the Bucs' Pewter Partners. Dominik said he is in "active negotiations" with McCoy's agent, Ben Dogra.

Dogra's firm, CAA, also represents Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the first overall pick by the Rams. Dominik dismissed the perception that Bradford must be signed before McCoy. But he said Bradford's deal could serve as a baseline for the market.

"I'm talking to Ben every day," Dominik said Tuesday. "We're trying to work toward finishing it before training camp. I've never sensed from Ben that we have to wait until Bradford is done."

Dominik said there are many moving parts to such large deals signed by players selected in the top 10 spots. He said the club is negotiating the length of the contract, structure and payouts.

"It's always difficult when you're at the top of the first round,'' Dominik said. "You've got to make a decision which is better for you and the club. That's difficult enough as it is. Then you have issues like how you structure the contract, how to pay everything out.

"But at end of the day, every year these deals do get done on time for the most part."

Dominik said he was pleased with the way McCoy has worked in the offseason.

"Gerald really showed lot of intensity and effort in practice," Dominik said. "He wanted to take as many reps as possible. That's been the best thing about this draft class, how hard-working this draft class is first through the seventh rounds."

Benn did not show as much flash as fellow rookie receiver Mike Williams in the offseason workout program. But training camp is where Benn, a punishing 6 feet 2, 220 pounds, should make his mark.

"His assets have always been strength and power," Dominik said. "And you can't show that in shorts. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in training camp when the pads come on."

One player not expected to report Friday is starting left tackle Donald Penn. Dominik said the Bucs plan to have an open competition for that position in anticipation of that.

Penn, 27, refused to sign his one-year, $3.168 million tender as a restricted free agent and the Bucs reduced the offer to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, a loss of about $100,000.

Dominik said he is unaware whether Penn intends to report on time. He said he hopes the contract impasse is resolved soon, but there have been no talks on an extension.

Demar Dotson has taken most of the first-team reps at left tackle. Xavier Fulton and James Lee also will get a chance to win the job.

"Dotson has worked very hard," Dominik said. "A lot of it comes down to how he performs with his opportunity and reps at left tackle.

"Penn still is considered a teammate and a member of our football team and I hope there is a resolution sooner rather than later. But we're looking forward to seeing what Dotson, Xavier Fulton and James Lee can do."

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign receiver Arrelious Benn 07/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 7:12am]
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