The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to have a hearing with the NFL league office regarding the grievances the team filed against former Bucs wide receiver Keenan McCardell. Tampa Bay is seeking $1 million worth of the $2 million signing bonus that McCardell received for signing a four-year deal in 2002.
The hearing is scheduled to take place in February and if Tampa Bay wins its grievance, not only will McCardell be forced to write the team a check for $1 million, the Bucs will also receive an additional $1 million worth of salary cap space. If the Bucs win the grievance prior to February 28, the team will receive that extra $1 million worth of cap space in Tampa Bay's 2005 cap, which would be helpful considering the team is currently $14 million over the salary cap. If the Bucs prevail after February 28, the $1 million worth of cap space will be available in 2006.
The Bucs are also seeking payment for the approximately $410,000 in daily fines McCardell accumulated during his holdout.
"We never believed that Keenan was making a good business decision when he decided to holdout," Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen said, regarding the upcoming grievances hearing.
The office of Gary Uberstine, who represents McCardell, had no comment on the grievance.
McCardell missed the Bucs' mandatory mini-camp, training camp and the first six games of the season in a contract dispute. Coming off of a season in which he had 84 receptions for 1,174 yards with a career-high eight touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2003, the 34-year old McCardell wanted a substantial pay raise despite the fact that he was already under contract through the 2005 season and among the highest pay receivers for his age.
On October 19, Allen traded the disgruntled receiver to San Diego for third- and sixth-round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft, and possibly a fifth-rounder in 2006 if McCardell makes the Pro Bowl in 2005. The trade came two days after the Chargers lost their top receiver Reche Caldwell for the season with torn ligaments in his right knee.