The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have followed through on their threat to make quarterback Jake Plummer pay for not playing.
It was previously reported that the Bucs and Denver Broncos jointly filed two grievances against Plummer for his failure to report to Tampa Bay immediately after Denver traded his rights to the Bucs in March and for his failure to report to the Bucs’ three-day mandatory mini-camp in June.
Now, PewterReport.com is reporting that the Bucs and Broncos have jointly filed a third grievance against Plummer for his failure to report to Tampa Bay’s training camp on July 26.
The Bucs are attempting to receive as much as $7 million in bonus money Plummer received while playing in Denver due to the fact that he has retired unilaterally. In addition to the three grievances filed against him, Plummer has accumulated over $500,000 in fines, according to a team source, for missing the mandatory mini-camp, training camp, team meetings, workouts, team plane rides to away games and team buses, among other infractions. Pursuant to Article XIX (Veteran Free Agency) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the maximum fine per day is $14,288.
Plummer, 32, announced his retirement from the NFL shortly after the Bucs traded a 2008 seventh-round draft pick to the Broncos in exchange for his rights. He has yet to file retiremenet paperwork with the NFL, likely because the Buccaneers wouldn't approve the paperwork he would submit.
Because Tampa Bay owns his rights and Plummer is still under contract, the team has the right to accept or deny a player's retirement. In this case, the Bucs have obviously sent a message to Plummer that they would reject the notion of his formal retirement should he go through with the paperwork.
Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden spent the offseason attempting to convince Plummer to play for Tampa Bay.
Gruden even met with Plummer in Idaho shortly after Tampa Bay’s offseason workouts concluded, but Plummer still chose not to report to Tampa Bay’s training camp, which required players under contract to report for duty on July 26.
Plummer, who has three years remaining on his contract, has completed 57.1 percent of his career passes for 29,253 yards and tossed 131 touchdowns and 131 interceptions since entering the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals in 1997.
The Bucs currently have four quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Bruce Gradkowski and Chris Simms – on their active roster. Plummer has been placed on the Did Not Report list and has been treated like a holdout by the front office.
Should Plummer eventually play for Tampa Bay, the seventh-round pick the team traded to Denver would become a fourth-round selection.
The reason for the Broncos inclusion in Tampa Bay's grievance procedures is to clearly state to the NFLPA that the Buccaneers are solely entitled to the $7 million worth of bonuses owed to them by Plummer (even though the Broncos originally paid Plummer the money), and that Denver has given its blessing that the Bucs proceed to collect that money.
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