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This is the time of year football fans dread. The NFL Draft is over, and training camp sure seems far away – the Bucs report to Celebration Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on July 25.
While news might be slow, there still are some things worth reporting and topics worth discussing this time of year. Pewter Report will do its best to come by information and deliver it to the Bucs fans that are craving it as often as possible between now and camp.
Pewter Report is in the process of working on its Post-Draft issue, but here are five post-draft topics that that include some scoop and nuggets of information that should give Bucs fans their fix, or at least hold you over until the team resumes its organized team activities next week.
DID THE BUCS FIELD OFFERS FOR SIMMS? It has been reported by at least one Tampa Bay area media outlet that the Buccaneers fielded several trade offers for quarterback Chris Simms during the weekend of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Pewter Report has run this information by its sources and has it on good authority that the Bucs did not field trade offers for Simms during the draft.
In fact, Pewter Report has learned that while the team did field phone calls regarding potential trades, none of them involved Simms.
This might not surprise some people since Simms, a 2003 third-round draft pick, hasn't shown that he's fully recovered from the unfortunate spleen injury he suffered nearly two years ago and struggled in his last four starts, tossing just one touchdown and nine interceptions while leading the Bucs to a 0-4 record during that stretch.
The Buccaneers have, however, had discussions with several teams regarding a trade for Simms this offseason. All of those discussions took place before the 2008 NFL Draft, and some conversations were considered more serious than others.
Simms is in the final year of his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $2 million in base salary. He also carries a $3 million cap value in 2008.
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden has already stated that the Bucs, who have seven quarterbacks on their offseason roster, only intend to bring five signal callers to training camp due to the NFL-mandated 80-man roster.
Jake Plummer is retired and isn't going to play for the Bucs, so one decision has already been made for the team. But Tampa Bay plans to part ways with another quarterback before camp, and Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown and Josh Johnson aren't going anywhere before camp starts.
That means either Simms or Bruce Gradkowski, a 2006 sixth-round pick, likely will be released or traded before training camp begins.
Keep in mind though that this is Tampa Bay's current plan, one that could still change, especially if the Bucs believe they'd be better off bringing Simms and Gradkowski to camp along with the other signal callers and waiting to see if teams that lose a quarterback to injury in camp or preseason are willing to offer more for one of the Bucs' quarterbacks than what other teams might have been willing to offer for Simms before the 2008 NFL Draft took place.
HOW DID CB KELLY FARE IN FREE AGENCY? Pewter Report has been attempting to obtain former Bucs cornerback Brian Kelly's contract numbers with the Detroit Lions since he signed with the team on Mar. 9.
That's proven to be quite difficult, but we've finally obtained some cap numbers regarding Kelly's deal.
Was Kelly wise to buy himself out of his contract in Tampa Bay in order to become a free agent and eventually sign with Detroit?
Well, Kelly was scheduled to earn a $3.2 million base salary and receive a $1 million roster bonus with the Buccaneers in 2008, which was scheduled to be the final year of his deal with Tampa Bay. That's a total of $4.2 million.
Detroit gave Kelly a $3.25 million signing bonus and he's scheduled to earn a $1.25 million base salary in 2008.
So Kelly passed up the chance to earn $4.2 million in Tampa Bay to make $4.5 million in Detroit this year, which was a good decision, right? Well, perhaps not.
Kelly wound up coming up slightly worse ($250,000, to be exact) by leaving Tampa Bay since he had to buy himself out of his deal with the Bucs for $500,000 in order to hit the open market.
But in the end it probably worked out for both sides as Kelly avoided becoming an unrestricted free agent at 33 in 2009 by signing a three-year contract worth $9.5 million with Detroit, and the Bucs found a cornerback for the future by investing a first-round draft pick in Aqib Talib.
BUCS NOT INTERESTED IN BRINGING BACK RICE By adding Marques Douglas and Jimmy Wilkerson to the rotation and having Gaines Adams, Greg White and Greg Peterson with another year under their belt, the Buccaneers believe their pass rush, which was inconsistent last year, will be improved in 2008.
That sentiment certainly is debatable and it remains to be seen whether the Bucs will be proven right or wrong on that point.
Tampa Bay was interested in trading for Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen, but backed out of negotiations when the asking price became too much. The same goes for DE Justin Smith, who signed with San Francisco in free agency.
Miami DE Jason Taylor could be an option for the Bucs should he be released or the Dolphins lower their asking price for him. He has 117 career sacks and will turn 34 in fall, but the Bucs still feel he has some gas left in the tank.
But one player the Bucs have definitely moved on without is DE Simeon Rice, who was released on the day the Bucs reported to training camp last year.
Rice, who has notched 122 career sacks, has not been able to show that he is completely recovered from a shoulder injury he suffered during the 2006 season.
Rice was placed on injured reserve eight games into the 2006 season. The story goes that the Buccaneers wanted him to rehab his injured shoulder at the team facility, but he opted instead to rehab and train on his own in Arizona during the 2007 offseason.
Then the Bucs learned that Rice had re-injured his shoulder while rehabbing on his own, which caused him to not be anywhere close to ready to play when the team reported to training camp in July.
Tampa Bay believed that Rice had about 40 percent use of his shoulder when the Bucs reported to training camp, which was disappointing and led to general manager Bruce Allen meeting with Rice and asking him to reduce his team-high base salary of $7.2 million to somewhere around $5 million as well as sign a one-year contract extension since he was entering the final year of his deal.
Rice refused and the Bucs released him immediately, which was quite controversial at the time. The Bucs, who were coming off a 4-12 season, took a lot of criticism for the move, especially after Rice made this comment to the Tampa Tribune shortly after his release.
"The only fall-off year I had came when I was hurt," Rice told the Tampa Tribune in 2007. "I came here for a million dollars in 2001. I took a pay cut to come to Tampa just to show the world what I could do, and I'm going to come back full throttle. I'm still not 100 percent. I played two games last year with one arm and I'm not right yet. If another team out there respects me, I'll be right in three or four weeks.
"I'm the most consistent thing they ever had in Tampa. I'm excited about the future, because I believe in me. I always bet on black, baby. The next step is to let my body heal up and then I'll be a maniac. I'm an ageless wonder."
Unfortunately for Rice, his prediction didn't come to fruition. The Broncos signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal that included a $1 million signing bonus in September. That wasn't even close to the reduced salary Tampa Bay had offered Rice in July.
To make matters worse the Broncos released Rice in November due to the fact that he continued to struggle with the shoulder ailment and complained when the Broncos reduced his playing time.
The Indianapolis Colts claimed Rice off waivers after Dwight Freeney suffered a season-ending injury, but released him two weeks later.
In the meantime, Greg White, a former Arena League player, emerged for the Bucs defense and led the team in sacks with eight and posted seven forced fumbles. Rookie Gaines Adams chipped in with six sacks of his own. Tampa Bay's defense finished the 2007 regular season ranked No. 2 overall and the Bucs won the NFC South division title … without Rice.
Despite Rice's efforts to get signed by another NFL team by working out at Illinois' pro day workout earlier this offseason, he remains unsigned and out of football.
Several media outlets questioned the Buccaneers' motives and ethics when they suddenly released Rice last summer. It might not have been clear then, but it certainly is clear now that the Buccaneers knew what they were doing – and were well within their right to do what they did — with Rice.
BUCS STILL INTERESTED IN COLEMAN The Buccaneers traded up in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft to select Maryland defensive tackle Dre' Moore, but that doesn't mean the team isn't still interested in signing free agent DT Rod Coleman.
Sources tell Pewter Report that the Buccaneers still are interested in acquiring Coleman, who was released by the Atlanta Falcons in late February and still is recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2007 season.
Coleman, 31, has notched 58.5 career sacks and was originally drafted by head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen when they were in Oakland.
Tampa Bay has completely revamped its defensive lineman while stockpiling talent along the line over the last two years.
In fact, out of the 12 defensive linemen on Tampa Bay's roster, only three – Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan and Charles Bennett – were with the team in 2006.
The other nine players – Gaines Adams, Kevin Carter, Greg White, Greg Peterson, Marques Douglas, Jimmy Wilkerson, Ryan Sims, Patrick Chukwurah and Moore – have joined the Bucs since 2007.
Heck, the Bucs have also had three defensive line coaches over the past three years in Jethro Franklin, Larry Coyer and Todd Wash, respectively.
If he's healthy and the price is right Coleman could become the latest addition to Tampa Bay's revamped defensive line.
BUCS WERE WISE TO TRADE FOR PLUMMER Tampa Bay traded its 2008 seventh-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for quarterback Jake Plummer during the 2007 offseason. Had Plummer played for the Bucs they would have had to give the Broncos their fourth-round selection.
The Bucs entered this year's draft without their seventh-round pick, but were able to land a seventh-rounder when they traded down with New England Patriots in the fifth round to select quarterback Josh Johnson.
Denver's selection from Tampa Bay was the 20th pick in the seventh round and 227th overall. The Buccaneers acquired the Patriots' 31st selection in the seventh round and the 238th overall pick.
So when it was all said and done Bucs general manager Bruce Allen essentially traded down 11 spots in the seventh round for the opportunity to retrieve up to $7 million in bonus money.
The Bucs' grievance hearing vs. Plummer could be held as early as June. If Tampa Bay wins their case vs. Plummer they would not receive $7 million in cap relief. However, Tampa Bay would be entitled to receiving $7 million from Plummer, which obviously would please the Glazers and prove to make it one hell of a deal for the Buccaneers.
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