Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to wait until after NFL draft for Aqib Talib's trial

PALM BEACH — Whether CB Aqib Talib is allowed to play next season or not, the Bucs believe they will be covered.

Talib's trial in Texas for assault with a deadly weapon has been moved again, this time to June 25, according to his attorney, Frank Perez. Originally scheduled for March 26, Talib's court date has changed twice in a week and is now well past the start of the NFL draft April 26.

If convicted, Talib would likely face another league suspension. He was suspended the first game of 2010 for assaulting a St. Petersburg cab driver in August 2009.

GM Mark Dominik indicated Monday the Bucs are prepared to move on without Talib. They have signed Lions free agent CB Eric Wright, Ronde Barber is returning for a 16th season and with the No. 5 overall pick the Bucs might be able to select LSU CB Morris Claiborne.

"Part of the reason why we have Eric Wright here is to be able to play starting corner for us," Dominik said. "I look at Ronde Barber. We don't know what the draft is going to bring yet and we do have a bunch of young guys with (Anthony) Gaitor, (Myron) Lewis, (E.J.) Biggers. Those players are still on the team to find out exactly how they fit in.''

Dominik said of Talib's trial: "You've got to look it almost like it could be a career-threatening injury or he might be okay."

Meanwhile, Perez said Talib is eager to get the matter behind him before the season starts.

LIKELY DONE WITH FREE AGENCY: The Bucs committed $140.5 million to free agents in the first two days of the signing period by locking up former Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, ex-Saints G Carl Nicks and Wright.

Tampa Bay still is nearly $20 million under the salary cap. But Dominik said a good portion will go to the rookie salary pool, re-signing franchise K Connor Barth and possibly be rolled over into 2013 to lock up players such as QB Josh Freeman.

NO EXTRA PICKS FOR BUCS: About half of the teams received compensatory picks in the 2012 draft, but the Bucs were not among them.

The loss of LB Barrett Ruud and RB Cadillac Williams to free agency in 2011 was offset by the performance and salary of P Michael Koenen.

NOT A CONSIDERATION: It was never going to be Tim Tebow time in Tampa Bay. Dominik said the Bucs' faith in Freeman prevented the franchise from considering the Heisman Trophy winner out of Florida. "We weren't in on it," Dominik said. "No disrespect to (Tebow) … We have confidence in our young guy."

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