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July 26, 2011 @ 3:51 pm
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/1 Votes

Bucs Sign LB Foster, Ruud's Days In Tampa Bay May Be Over

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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The Buccaneers have signed rookie LB Mason Foster and TE Daniel Hardy to four-year deals. Bucs G.M. Mark Dominik's comments about Foster and his upcoming role on the team clearly put free agent Barrett Ruud's future in Tampa Bay in doubt.
According to Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, the team has signed third-round draft pick Mason Foster, a linebacker from Washington, and seventh-round pick Daniel Hardy, a tight end from Idaho, to a pair of four-year deals. Terms were not disclosed.

Dominik heaped heavy praise on Foster, who will play middle linebacker for the Bucs, indicating that he was going to play a big role in Tampa Bay’s defense for years to come. Dominik was non-committal about the return of unrestricted free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, and the fact that the team made sure Foster was the first draft pick signed is a strong indication that Ruud’s days in Tampa Bay could be over.

“I am excited to announce that I just got off the phone with Mason Foster’s agent and he has just agreed to a four-year contract with our [third-round] draft pick,” Dominik said. “We just need to get his signature on the contract, but that’s a big element because he’s a big part of our future plans here. So getting him under contract and letting him be in the building tonight already and starting to learn is the most important thing we can do.”

Ruud, who has been Tampa Bay's leading tackler for the past few years, has his share of critics who claim that he is not the most physical linebacker, has trouble shedding blocks and has played a role in the Bucs ranking 32nd and 27th against the run over the past two seasons, respectively. When Dominik was pressed to comment on Ruud's future with the Buccaneers he was non-committal and also mentioned the development of second-year middle linebacker Tyrone McKenzie in Monday’s afternoon press conference instead of talking about Ruud.

"I have high expectations for Mason Foster and what he can bring to this football team," Dominik said. "I also thing that Tyrone McKenzie learned a lot at the Mike linebacker position. We just signed a guy that I considered in the seventh round, Derrell Smith, a middle linebacker from Syracuse, that I thought was a really talented college football player. We have a lot of young guys that certainly have to step into big shoes at a real mental position, but I have a lot of confidence in who Mason Foster is and his mental make-up to do so."

Tampa Bay's general manager was asked to characterize the negotiations with Ruud, who has been the starter at middle linebacker since the 2007 season and instead said, "I would say that an important element that I just talked about for us long term was that we got Mason Foster signed to a four-year contract. Obviously, I think that it's important that the Mike linebacker that we drafted is here on this football team and will try to learn this system as fast as possible. Any kind of discussion with Barrett and his agent I would leave out of it right now.

"I knew that Barrett had played six years in Tampa and he would be an unrestricted free agent regardless of whether free agency was four years or six years. At that point, you have to start preparing in case you don't have Barrett Ruud. The draft came and fell to us in a way that we liked Mason Foster where we got him. We are happy to have him on this football team. Those are the two components that came together and that's why we made sure that Mason Foster was the first to get signed on the first available day to sign draft picks and get him in the building and get him prepared with the coaching staff."

Ruud, who has been seeking a contract extension for the past two years, was an offseason holdout in 2009, missing all of the OTAs. He also was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension after left tackle Donald Penn received one last year after holding out the entire offseason.

Outside of Ruud, the Buccaneers have been on the phone with the agents of Tampa Bay's own free agents, including right guard Davin Joseph, who is the team's priority to re-sign.

“It’s been busy, I’ve been on the phone non-stop,” Dominik said.

Dominik also stated that the team signed undrafted free agents Derrell Smith (6-0, 244), a middle linebacker from Syracuse, and Raymond Webber, a rangy, big-play wide receiver from Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The team will sign between 15-20 undrafted free agents to fill out its 90-man roster for training camp and is expected to release the complete list on Wednesday.

Notre Dame running back Armando Allen, Oklahoma running back Mossis Madu, Texas A&M center Matt Allen, Tennessee linebacker Nick Reviez, LSU kicker Josh Jasper and Boise State quarterback Mike Coughlin are rumored to be among other possible undrafted free agents signed by the Buccaneers.
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 16:11
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Glad Dom is not pushing to sign Ruud to a contract and has taken the posture he has. Ruud did not earn it. Hope he will now work to get Black under contract, so he doesn't have to throw Foster in there to sink or swim as a Rookie from the start. Black can handle those duties until Foster is good enough to replace him and knows how to read the other teams' offenses and call our defenses appropriately. I don't doubt that Foster has the ability to be an outstanding middle linebacker for us down the road. However, it does not hurt to have more than one qualified middle linebackers in case the other gets hurt.
  • avatar


    I don't know what the team's relationship is with Ruud, and I haven't always been his biggest fan, but looking at the way our team is constructed now, I really can't see how you can make a case that he isn't in the top 3 at LB. So I hope he stays. I also don't see a better alternative in FA.
  • avatar


    Hey Fans everyone has to realize this is a different Buc team now. We cannot bring the past up. The Biggest MISTAKE IN THE PAST WHEN TAMPA LET DUNGRY,BROOKS,SAPP & LYNCH GO! THAT's THEN and NOW IS TODAY. CAN'T WE PUT WHAT SOME OF THE PREVIOUS BUCS STAFF MADE GREAT MISTAKES. I THINK THE GM AND THE COACHING STAFFS ARE ON THE SAME PAGE. I WISH I'VE LIVE IN TAMPA LIKE I DID BACK WHEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER. IAM NOT. I REMEMBER COACH BAILEY AND FRAN C. AT UNIV OF TAMPA WITH LEON MCGRAY. TODAY IS 2011 TAMPA WILL BE BETTER ESPICALLY TAMPA STARTS OFF WITH A BIG BANG. GO BUCS
  • avatar


    Well with Foster who I really like is sign. Lets gets Joseph back in the mix at bucs hq. We got all this money, Lets taake care of our FA, Then go after other FA on Friday, GO bucs
  • avatar

    I also think Foster is a better fit on the outside. Would like to see McKenze(sp) be able to battle with an experienced free agent MLB for the position. I think that Foster will be great in the middle, but I think he has a chance to be one of the best on the outside.
  • avatar

    O Boy. A key player on Deffense is now leaving and here comes a promissing young rookie with amazing potential. Does this remind any1 of anything?
  • avatar


    "paradigm" That word sure lifted the intelligence level of this board. I'm impressed macabee. I always hope all of our free agents return to compete but it's unlikely that Ruud will stay here when it's pretty obvious that Dominik is looking for a different long-term solution. Sometimes Ruud's play looked like he was trying not to get hurt.
  • avatar


    Awww because he was a Jon Gruden pick?
  • avatar


    You remember how you felt when Brooks, Dunn, and other fan faves were unceremoniously let go. What you were feeling were the winds of change, and it was unsettling. It's not over yet, the rebuilding is not finished. Dominik refers to it as the blueprint - there's a new paradigm and it doesn't look like what we're accustomed to. Morris and Dominik won 10 games last year with a bunch of dead-end kids that literally had never seen the field before. They are confident and convinced that they're on to something. At this point, the Bucs have signed 6 UFAs, two of which are Nick Reviez/UTenn and Derrell Smith/Syracuse, both ILBs. Nick is 5-9 and the son of kicker Faud Reviez. I first said, What? After I read further, I found out that they're both team captains with enviable records at the LB position. Am I nervous starting a rookie in the middle - you bet. But these guys have a plan that they believe in and they're going to execute it, and I'm going along for the ride with fingers crossed on both hands.
  • avatar


    As an OU alum an fan Madu would be a steal as an UDFA
  • avatar


    It appears that Rudd is done here and I wish him the best. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    Not too crazy about hearing Foster will be playing MLB. I would rather have him at SLB. My main reason for wanting Ruud back was a lack of better options in FA. I think N. Barnett is a better MLB than Ruud. At least he was a few years ago back when he was a starter. I also wanted T. McKinzie to get a fair shot at MLB. But whatever, we'll see what happens in training camp. At least Foster is officially on the team. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Cant wait to see these rookies with their new numbers in a Bucs uniform!
  • avatar

    Does this really mean Ruud is done in Tampa? I'm not saying that he's not, but how does signing Foster signify anything one way or the other. Were we not expected to sign him? As to Dom's words about Foster starting in the middle, last offseason he also said that we could roll with Demar Dotson at LT when Penn was holding out. He then signed him to a long-term deal in the 11th hour. Just sayin...
  • avatar

    Starting a rookie at middle linebacker? Maybe ... but a safer bet is we're playing a little poker here. Ruud's agent isn't gonna bite. He can't do a thing 'till other teams set his market out there. That won't take long in this abbreviated FA year. Dom will gamble on Ruud leading with a "tickler" offer while seeing who else wants to pay what - keep an eye on other starter-quality MLBs, then pull a trigger. Not sure which trigger but I'm betting we don't see a rook in the middle.
  • avatar


    Personally I am holding out some hope Ruud will return. I have been a supporter and would hate to see him go. But reality is reality....I do hope he gets a good deal somewhere. GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • avatar


    I went to high school with Derrell Smith, he is the nicest guy you will meet. PR is really going to enjoy covering him. Smith is smart and will make an impact for this team. Glad to see Delaware represented with-in the Bucs.
  • avatar

    Bye Ruud, thx for the contributions you have given this organization I wish you luck! Now for all the Ruud haters to turn their back on the guy and run their mouths like they do everyone that leaves.
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