Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Barrett Ruud and cornerback Elbert Mack have signed their one-year tenders with Tampa Bay. Ruud was a restricted free agent with the highest level tender. Mack was an exclusive rights free agent that couldn't sign elsewhere.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come to contract terms with two more of their free agents. Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud and cornerback Elbert Mack signed their one-year tenders with the Bucs on Wednesday. Ruud was a restricted free agent that was tendered at the highest possible level. Due to having less than three years of experience, Mack was an exclusive rights free agent that was not eligible to sign with another NFL team.
Ruud had 205 tackles in 2009, which was second all-time in Buccaneers history for a single season. Hardy Nickerson had 214 tackles in 1993. Ruud also recorded one interception and one forced fumble last season. Ruud entered the starting lineup in the 2007 season after sitting behind veteran Shelton Quarles for the first two years of his career. Tampa Bay drafted Ruud out of Nebraska in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
A year ago Ruud was disappointed with the Buccaneers resistance to negotiate a contract extension after two productive seasons as a starter. Ruud sat out all voluntary workouts, as the Tampa Bay instituted a new defense under coordinator Jim Bates.
The Buccaneers defense struggled in 2009. After the Bucs went 1-9 in their first 10 games, head coach Raheem Morris relieved Bates of his coordinator duties. The Bucs defense improved dramatically over the final six games holding opponents to average of 17 points per game. Tampa Bay finished the season 3-13 with the 27th ranked defense in the NFL, and the 32nd ranked run defense.
Due to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, Ruud was a year short of having the necessary six years of service time to be an unrestricted free agent. Ruud was given a tender that would have caused another team to give Tampa Bay a first-round pick and a third-round pick if they signed Ruud away. Ruud's one-year contract will pay him $3.268 million. If the Buccaneers and Ruud do not agree on a contract extension he will be an unrestricted free agent next March. This year Ruud is working out at One Buc Place and plans on attending all voluntary workouts.
Mack was the Bucs third cornerback last season and played in 15 games. He recorded 30 tackles with three interceptions and four passes defensed, and seven tackles on special teams.
Tampa Bay originally signed Mack as an undrafted free agent out of Troy. Mack spent his rookie season as a backup and special teams contributor. In training camp of 2009 Mack won the nickel cornerback spot. Next year Mack is slated to be a restricted free agent if he does not sign a multi-year contract with Tampa Bay.
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