Tampa Bay's roster is expected to undergo some major changes this offseason. One of them will take place at the wide receiver position, where Antonio Bryant is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Mar. 5.
Bryant, 28, has spent the past two seasons with the Bucs. He caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards (15.0 avg.) and seven touchdowns in his Tampa Bay debut in 2008. However, a knee injury and inconsistent quarterback play hindered Bryant's efforts in 2009, which resulted in 39 receptions for 600 yards (15.4 avg.) and four touchdowns. That wasn't deemed enough production from a player playing under the franchise tag, which came with a $9.88 million salary.
Speaking at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris disclosed that the team will not re-sign Bryant, meaning his days as a Buccaneer are close to over. Though they plan to make a point of improving the talent around quarterback Josh Freeman, the Bucs have decided to part ways with Bryant, whom the team tagged as their franchise player just a year ago.
"Antonio missed a lot of time last year and I'm not trying to blame Antonio but really, right now, we're going in a young direction,'' Bucs coach Raheem Morris said Thursday during a break at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We're going to choose to move on. He's going to test the free-agent market and its going to be our decision to move on and go in another direction.''Source
: Tampa Tribune
- Roy Cummings
: This isn't a surprise. We've been reporting for months that Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant wouldn't be back with Tampa Bay, but we're surprised frankly that Bucs head coach Raheem Morris disclosed the team's plans to let Bryant walk in free agency. Last we heard, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was planning to meet with Bryant's agent at the combine. Bryant is one of the most talented receivers to have ever played for Tampa Bay, but the team wasn't happy at all about him complaining publicly about his role in the team's offense last year. The Bucs also have concerns about his durability, and his asking price could also have something to do with the team's decision to part ways with Bryant. With Bryant's days in Tampa Bay numbered, the Bucs are definitely in the market for a starting-caliber wide receiver, or maybe even two since Michael Clayton had almost as many drops as he did catches last year.
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