Does Pewter Report think WR Maurice Stovall will be back with Tampa Bay? Why could he leave? What could attract other teams to Stovall? Find out the answers and prediction of Stovall’s Bucs future here.
PewterReport.com continues this series of articles that predicts whether a Bucs veteran free agent will be back with the team in 2011.WIDE RECEIVER MAURICE STOVALL
After playing five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stovall, 26, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent under the old rules of the past collective bargaining agreement. If 2010’s rules are reinstituted, which require six accrued seasons to become an unrestricted free agent, Stovall would only become a restricted free agent. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Stovall was a third-round pick of the Bucs in 2006. 2010 SEASON
Last year Stovall caught seven passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Stovall was the starting Z ‘flanker’ wide receiver in the preseason before an ankle injury put him on the sidelines. When Stovall returned, he was a backup receiver and special teams contributor for the 2010 season. He recorded nine special teams tackles. CAREER UP TO THIS POINT
Stovall has had a similar story in almost every year of his pro career. Early in the offseason, Stovall performs well and continues that strong performance through training camp. By the end of the preseason, Stovall seems to lag and is passed on the depth chart by other receivers.
His best season came in 2009 when he caught 24 passes for 366 yards and one touchdown. That season he played well when he was forced into starting duty due to injuries to starting receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton. After Tampa Bay drafted Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams in 2010, Stovall was destined for backup duty. WHY HE COULD RE-SIGN
The Bucs tendered Stovall a contract to return in 2011. He has fans in the coaching staff, and the offensive staff would like Stovall back to serve as depth and competition.
The Buccaneers would love to have him back for their special teams. Tampa Bay has a lot of vital special teams players heading into free agency, and Stovall is a quality contributor on fourth downs, so retaining some of their core special teams players like Stovall will have a big appeal to new special teams coach Dwayne Stukes, head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik. It shouldn’t take much to out-bid other offers from other teams to sign Stovall, but money may not be the prime consideration. WHY HE COULD DEPART
Stovall could easily choose to sign somewhere else for a better opportunity to compete for playing time on offense. The Bucs are loaded at receiver with Benn, Williams, Dezmon Briscoe, Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter. Stovall could look to sign with another team that has more holes at wide receiver. As a fourth-down player, Stovall should see some interest in the free agency marketplace. PREDICTION
Right now, Stovall is predicted to sign elsewhere. It wouldn’t be surprising if Stovall signed with San Diego to be reunited with former Bucs special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia. The Chargers need better special teams players and also could use some competition at wide receiver. PREVIOUS PR PREDICTSLB Barrett RuudTE John Gilmore
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