With starting quarterback Brian Griese sidelined for the rest of the season due to a torn anterior collateral ligament and a medial collateral ligament in his left knee that he suffered against Miami, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers felt the urgency to trade for San Francisco 49ers veteran quarterback Tim Rattay on October 18.

But with the Bucs having less than $1 million worth of salary cap room at their disposal, and Tampa Bay obliged to acquire the balance of Rattay’s $1,193,750 base salary this year, general manager Bruce Allen opted to restructure the contract of under tackle Anthony McFarland to create the necessary cap room to complete the trade.

McFarland was given $1.592 million in the form of a signing bonus and his 2005 base salary rate was reduced to $540,000 for the remainder of the season.

McFarland, whose 2005 cap value was $4.7 million, was scheduled to make $3 million in base salary and will lose no money from this transaction this year, evidenced by the fact that he will be paid $1.408 million worth of base salary this season, coupled with the $1.592 million signing bonus. McFarland’s new cap figure for 2005 will be $3.512 million, which represents a cap savings of $1.18 million.

The restructuring did not add any additional years to McFarland’s contract, which is set to expire after the 2008 season. However, McFarland’s 2006 cap value escalates to $8.098, which will certainly force the Buccaneers to re-evaluate his standing with the team after the 2005 season.

With Tampa Bay currently committed to spend over $100 million worth of salary cap room in 2006, the Bucs will likely have to pare between $5-15 million worth of cap space prior to the start of free agency, depending on how much the salary cap increases in ’06. Roster cuts will again be likely in Tampa Bay for the Bucs to get under the ’06 cap, and McFarland could be among them unless his play significantly improves throughout the 2005 season.

Through six games this year, McFarland, who is still learning the ever-important role of the three-technique tackle in the Tampa 2 defense, has logged only nine tackles and one sack. Those disappointing statistics certainly won’t confuse McFarland with his Pro Bowl predecessor, Warren Sapp, who set a high bench mark for the under tackle position with the Buccaneers by logging 77 sacks in nine seasons. Through his seven years in Tampa Bay, McFarland, who will be 28 in December, has notched just 19 sacks, with the majority of those quarterback captures coming from the nose tackle position, which he played from 1999-2003.

However, McFarland has stayed healthy this season, and has done a solid job against the run while maintaining gap integrity for the league’s top-rated run defense.

McFarland’s restructured contract leaves Tampa Bay with just $862,000 worth of salary cap room in 2005. The Bucs would have more room except for an $862,500 grievance that former left tackle Derrick Deese filed against the team after his release on September 3. That figure represents half of the $1,725,000 base salary that he was expected to receive in 2005, and the grievance is believed to be centered around the notion that he was wrongfully released by the Bucs while injured.

Tampa Bay maintained that a foot injury he suffered in training camp had healed enough for him to return to practice in the preseason, but Deese and his representatives felt otherwise. Deese’s agent, Gary Uberstine, did not return PewterReport.com’s phone call regarding the grievance against Tampa Bay.

Should Deese’s grievance prevail, the Bucs will be hit with an additional $862,500 cap charge in ’06. If Tampa Bay wins its grievance hearing, the Bucs will get an additional credit of $862,500 towards next year’s salary cap.

By winning another grievance against former wide receiver Keenan McCardell, who was a holdout in 2004, and ironically, a client of Uberstine, the Bucs are already scheduled to receive a credit of $1 million worth of salary cap space in ’06 once McCardell repays the team that amount.

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription. uccaneers merchandise in the world.

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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 PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com 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: sr@pewterreport.com
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