Monday began with Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow dropping a bombshell, relaying a conversation in which coach Greg Schiano told him his days in Tampa Bay were over.
Shortly before midnight, Winslow was sent packing, traded to the Seahawks for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick.
Meanwhile, the Bucs acquired his replacement, signing former Colts star Dallas Clark, who teamed with Peyton Manning to help annually make Indianapolis an offensive juggernaut, to a one-year deal.
Winslow, the team's most consistent receiving threat during the past three seasons, said Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Schiano told him the team planned to trade him.
Winslow, traded by the Browns to the Bucs in 2009 for a second- and fifth-round pick, said he was told his Bucs days were ending in a phone call Saturday evening.
"They're not looking for my services this year," Winslow said. "He said that he'd help me out with the trade. It's kind of shocking, but that's what it is."
A factor in the Bucs' move, Winslow said, was his decision to do his offseason preparation in his native San Diego, something he has often done during his tenure with the team.
"(Schiano) was kind of upset that I wasn't (in Tampa) working out with the team in the offseason," Winslow said. "But look, I've been there the last three years and I've had a successful career so far. You just don't get rid of one of your best players because of that."
Winslow, 28, has been productive since joining Tampa Bay, averaging 73 receptions for 792 yards. Despite chronic knee pain, the No. 6 overall pick in 2004 out of Miami never missed a game in his three seasons with the Bucs after doing so just twice in the previous five.
"I have nothing bad to say about Coach Schiano. It was just a disagreement on why I'm not there yet," Winslow said. "I was training in San Diego and I was going to start (practicing Monday)."
The Bucs began voluntary offseason activities last week, with three practices. Winslow did not attend, one of just three players known to be absent (another, defensive tackle Brian Price, was hospitalized). Schiano has used offseason workouts to set a tone for his new team, with intense practices and conditioning drills.
Winslow's absence only compounded other factors against him. Among them: his inability to practice consistently, mostly because of his knees; Winslow's habit of practicing on a limited basis runs counter to the relentless pace of Schiano's practices. Then there's the presence of Bucs special assistant Butch Davis, Schiano's most trusted advisor. Davis coached the Browns during part of Winslow's tumultuous tenure in Cleveland, a stint marked by a 12-day rookie contract holdout, a motorcycle accident that severely damaged his right knee and numerous losses.
The Bucs worked feverishly until late Monday before agreeing to the deal with Seattle. Concerns about Winslow's contract (he has three years and $13.3 million left) and knees likely complicated trade efforts. The deal creates $4.8 million in salary cap space for the Bucs.
Stay updated on the Buccaneers
Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Whether Clark, 32, is an upgrade is arguable, but the Bucs likely see him as a better fit under Schiano. An important potential role for Clark could be mentoring 2011 fourth-round pick Luke Stocker, a tight end who the Bucs think has significant upside.
It remains to be seen what Clark has left after missing 15 games the past two seasons because of various injuries. Since his release from the Colts during their purge of veterans in the spring, Clark visited the Chiefs and Patriots but wasn't signed. He also was considered a likely target of the Broncos, who now have Manning, but that never materialized.
Clark caught 34 passes for 352 yards last season in 11 games as the Colts struggled to cope while Manning was out with a neck injury. Clark only played six games in 2010. But in 2009 he had a career year, with 100 catches for 1,106 yards — the best numbers in his nine seasons in Indianapolis.
"Dallas Clark is a consummate pro and proven playmaker," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.