Tampa Bay quarterback Jake Plummer has gone out of his way to make it known that he plans to retire, but Bucs general manager Bruce Allen, who sent Denver a conditional 2008 draft pick in exchange for Plummer, believes the 32-year-old quarterback will play football again.
Allen addresses the Plummer situation and more in this Q&A session with PewterReport.com.
Pewter Report: Bruce, what is the latest on the Jake Plummer situation?
Bruce Allen: “Nothing. I look forward to talking to him sometime in the future. I don’t know if it will be in the next two weeks, but sometime in the future.”
Pewter Report: How confident are the Bucs that they have the rights to Plummer’s bonus money if he does in fact retire?
Bruce Allen: “I’ve never wanted to discuss individual player contracts before. That’s something that has to do with if he doesn’t play. I still believe he will play.”
Pewter Report: Has Plummer already filed his retirement paperwork?
Bruce Allen: “Not to my knowledge.”
Pewter Report: If Shelton Quarles does retire, do the Bucs feel like Barrett Ruud is ready to start at middle linebacker?
Bruce Allen: “We feel very good about where Barrett is at this point of his career. When we drafted him, we had great hopes for him and he is absolutely on the schedule that we had hoped for.”
Pewter Report: What is the latest on Dan Buenning and his recovery from the serious knee injury he sustained in November?
Bruce Allen: “We anticipate that he is going to be 100 percent ready for training camp. How aggressive we allow him to be [in offseason workouts] is yet to be determined. He’ll be able to participate in much of our work. We don’t know if we’ll put him in all of the ‘team’ work, but there’s no reason to risk anything in May or June with him.”
Pewter Report: How interested are the Buccaneers in Denver free agent guard Cooper Carlisle, and is he scheduled to visit?
Bruce Allen: “All of the speculation that always goes out with all of these various possibilities is becoming amazing. Cooper has been on our free agent list from the beginning, and we have not scheduled any visits and we never have. That’s not to say we won’t, but we haven’t.”
Pewter Report: How much has the new One Buccaneer Place helped the team lure free agents to Tampa Bay and sign with the Buccaneers?
Bruce Allen: “I don’t think there is any doubt that all of the players were more than impressed. It’s just not the facility, it’s the way it operates and the way they can use it to benefit themselves. I know that when Charles Grant goes back and talks to his teammates, he’s going to be bragging about our facility.”
Pewter Report: How much money do the Bucs have set aside for the draft class?
Bruce Allen: “It won’t be really until draft day because trades always affect where you end up and how much rookie pool you’ll have. We’re very, very comfortable.”
Pewter Report: How much money do the Bucs currently have to spend under the salary cap?
Bruce Allen: “We have about $6.5 million in room.”
Pewter Report: Have there been any other contract restructures aside from wide receiver Joey Galloway’s?
Bruce Allen: “There are no contracts that haven’t already had any triggers, escalators or maneuvering contained therein.”
Pewter Report: The safety free agent class has not been strong, but it’s strong in the draft. Will defensive backs coach Raheem Morris help the safety position through his coaching?
Bruce Allen: “We do have confidence that Raheem is a good football coach. It’s based on the fact that we’ve seen him perform with our team and he’s helped our players along. Part of getting better is that our players have to play better, too. [Getting better as a team is] just not through acquisition. We have several players on the team that we feel can perform than they did during the 2006 season. Once again, we have the basis that they have done it before.”
Pewter Report: The Bucs have been pretty responsible spenders in free agency, the highest signing bonus you’ve paid being $3 million this offseason. That went to Jeff Garcia and Luke Petitgout. Given the fact that this is a sub-par free agent class, did you want to be responsible with the cap so you can be aggressive spenders in 2008 and 2009?
Bruce Allen: “The plan from the beginning has been to improve the team in any way possible for the 2007 season and beyond. We’ve looked at each free agent and we’ve studied it. We understand why some teams have done what they’ve done. For us, we thought it would be more prudent for the team to utilize free agency as we have, take advantage of the draft positions that we currently hold and stay flexible. I think you are going to see this offseason – and the offseason runs all the way to preseason games, really – more trades and more opportunities to acquire players than ever before. You’ve heard rumors and speculation about trades in the past, but I think you are actually seeing a new era in the NFL. We want to make sure we have the flexibility to acquire any great player we could.”
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