Ronder Barber's 2012 $3 million salary, a relative bargain in today's NFL, proves the 15-year veteran returned more for the love of football as opposed to the paycheck. Most fans and teammates are happy regardless of the reason.
The “Old Man” and fan favorite, Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber, apparently decided to come back for the love of the game and not just for the money. Barber’s contract details came out Friday, first reported by ESPN NFC South Blogger Pat Yasinskas, and shows he will earn $3 million, with no signing bonus or incentive clauses, in what many assume will be his final season.
While three million dollars is more than many of us will make in a lifetime, compared to other cornerbacks in the NFL, the amount isn’t astronomical. Even compared to the salaries of some of his teammates, Barber could be considered underpaid.
New Buccaneers cornerback Eric Wright will earn $7.25 million, more than twice the money Barber will make. Looking at the top-paid cornerbacks around the NFC South, Carolina's Chris Gamble is scheduled to make $6.75 million (counting $9.5 million against the cap), Atlanta's Dunta Robinson will earn $5 million and New Orleans' Jabari Greer is slated to make $5.4 million dollars this season.
Last season Barber was fourth on the team in tackles last year with 77 stops, and his three interceptions led the Buccaneers. Barber, who set a franchise record last year playing 15 seasons in Tampa Bay, has started every game for the Tampa Bay since Week 10 of the 1999 season, which is the longest current active streak in the NFL.
In comparison Greer had 71 tackles with one interception, Robinson had 49 stops and two interceptions and Gamble finished 2011 with 45 tackles and the same number of picks as Barber, three. While Barber's skills are what they were 10 years ago, with his
production last season, Barber as an unrestricted free agent, could have
probably commanded more money on the open market.
A group even happier than the fans about Barber’s return are the 15-year veteran’s teammates. Cornerback Anthony Gaitor is one of many Buccaneers who are pleased to know No. 20 will be back on the field in 2012.
“It really is a blessing having Ronde back again,” Gaitor told PewterReport.com Friday morning. “It gives all of us a chance to gain more knowledge about the position.
“Fans don’t see how hard he works. Everyday after practice he is studying and breaking down film, looking for tendencies and he shares what he learns with us. And as good as a football player he is he is just as great as a person.”
Most everyone assumes this is the swan song of a potential Hall of Fame career, but most felt the same heading into 2011 also. No one but Barber knows what the future holds, but if the Buccaneers show drastic improvement, and Barber feels he can still contribute at a high level, we my be writing the same story next year at this time. And most Bucs fans and teammates probably wouldn’t mind.
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