Tampa Bay cornerback Brian Kelly decided to buy out the final year of his contract with the Buccaneers several weeks ago, meaning he'll become an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 29.

While Kelly's departure left a void at Tampa Bay's cornerback position, it created $4.7 million in salary cap room for the Buccaneers, PewterReport.com is reporting.

Kelly, 32, was scheduled to earn a $3.2 million base salary and receive a $1 million roster bonus this year, bringing his total cap value to $4.65 million.

But by buying himself out of his contract, Kellly was required to repay the Buccaneers $500,000 in signing bonus money, and he will not receive the $1 million roster bonus as originally scheduled.

Although he's struggled with injuries over the last two seasons, Kelly could still pique the interest of several teams around the league. He has notched 429 career tackles, 22 interceptions and 118 passes defensed since entering the league in 1998 as a second-round draft pick out of Southern California.

Last season, Kelly played in just 11 regular season games (four starts) due to a nagging groin injury. He notched 25 tackles and two interceptions while playing mostly in nickel situations behind Ronde Barber and Phillip Buchanon.

Tampa Bay will be approximately $35 million under the league-mandated salary cap when free agency begins on Feb. 29.

Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 offseason plans? Want to find out who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft this year? Subscribe to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.

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