The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have restructured the contract for quarterback Brian Griese, learned Saturday.

Several published reports, including The Tampa Tribune, reported Sunday morning that Griese agreed to a five-year deal worth $32 million. The new contract freed up approximately $4 million in cap room and is structured in a way that will allow the Bucs and agent Ralph Cindrich to revisit the deal each year.

Getting a deal done for Griese was deemed a priority by Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen, who has been in negotiations with Cindrich over the past month. Griese was scheduled to earn a $6 million roster bonus on Mar. 2 and would’ve had a $8.1 million cap value in 2005 had the Bucs not successfuly reworked his contract on Saturday.

With Allen faced with the challenge of getting the Bucs, who were $17 million over the salary cap before Griese’s new deal was completed Saturday, negotiations with Cindrich heated up in Indianapolis this week at the NFL Combine.

Griese, who turns 30 next month, completed 69.3 percent of his passes and threw for 2,632 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 games with the Bucs last season, which was his first with the team.

Had the Bucs not restructured his contract, Griese would’ve likely been released prior to Mar. 2 to free up cap room and quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Jay Fiedler would’ve been likely targets for the Bucs in free agency.

With Griese staying put, quarterback Brad Johnson, who lost his starting job to Chris Simms in Week 5, will likely be released before March 2, a move that would give the team approximately $4.5 million in cap relief. Simms, who was a third-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after the 2005 season.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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