However, perhaps Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris were thinking of ways Bryant could help Tampa Bay down the road when they made the curious move to allow one of their best offensive weapons to walk in free agency.
With 2010 free agency hitting a lull, unsigned veterans should beware of teams looking ahead to next season. To date, only 35 unrestricted free agents have moved to new teams, and 16 teams have suffered net losses of unrestricted free agents qualifying them for draft-choice compensation in 2011. I predict those teams that study the compensatory pool are going to pull themselves out of the bidding for unrestricted free agents because it could cost them draft choices in 2011.
For example, the Seattle Seahawks lost wide receiver Nate Burleson to a $5 million-a-year contract to the Detroit Lions and defensive end Cory ReddingBaltimore Ravens. You can project that the Seahawks could qualify for a No. 4 and No. 6 in 2011.
That puts them in an interesting position. They are looking to sign one of two unrestricted free-agent guards -- Ben Hamilton of the Denver BroncosChester Pitts of the Houston Texans. If they do that, they could risk losing one of those potential compensatory picks, most likely the sixth. Is Hamilton or Pitts worth a sixth-rounder?
Expect other teams to be extra selective for those reasons. The Carolina Panthers probably won't risk losing a No. 3 for Julius Peppers or a No. 6 for quarterback A.J. Feeley by signing a free agent. The Tampa Bay BuccaneersAntonio Bryant. The Green Bay Packers could get a third-rounder for defensive end Aaron Kampman. The New York Giants could get two sixth-round picks for defensive tackle Fred RobbinsDavid Carr. have a No. 3 for wide receiver and quarterback
Source: ESPN.com - John Clayton
PewterReport.com's Take: It will be difficult for the Bucs to replace Antonio Bryant, and the team's stable of wide receivers lacks depth and elite talent right now. But if the Bucs receive a third-round compensatory draft pick in 2011 because they lost Bryant to the Bengals that would be a huge plus. We won't know what the NFL winds up awarding the Bucs for losing Bryant until next year. Our guess is the compensatory pick will be anywhere between a third- to a fifth-round pick. One thing is for sure – Tampa Bay could use all the help it can get, especially if the team is going to take a similar approach to free agency in 2011.