Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times is reporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to tag guard Davin Joseph as a restricted free agent. Via comments from Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, the team has tender letters for free agents with less than six years of experience. The group that will receive tender contracts include: right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, linebacker Quincy Black, and linebacker Adam Hayward.
That would give the Bucs the ability to match any contract to retain those players in free agency, and if they didn't match the contract a team would have to give Tampa Bay draft pick compensation. If those players hit free agency with the restricted designation it is unlikely they would be signed by another team. In the old deal, those players could sign a one-year tender and/or sign a long-term contract with Tampa Bay.
The restricted free agents across the NFL received little interest last year from other teams. Tampa Bay had linebacker Barrett Ruud, running back Cadillac Williams, left tackle Donald Penn, right tackle Jeremy Trueblood, among others as restricted free agents. All them played with the Buccaneers last season. Penn was the only player to sign a long-term contract. Ruud and Williams are entering unrestricted free agency after playing their sixth season with the Bucs.
Due to the expiration of collective bargainning agreement, the NFL players union disputes that teams can designate players as franchise or restricted free agents or tender players one-year contracts. Most believe that if the union and league come to a new agreement players with four years of experience will be unrestricted free agents. That would make nullify the tender offers to Trueblood, Black, and Hayward. Joseph would probably be a restricted free agent. Tampa Bay could match any contract Joseph received from another team and if the Bucs didn't match the contract they would receive a first and third-round pick.
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