Buccaneers restricted free agent safety Kalvin Pearson officially became a Detroit Lion on Wednesday when Tampa Bay opted against matching the Lions' three-year, $3.5 million contract offer.
The Lions signed Pearson to the offer sheet, which includes a $1.1 million signing bonus, last week. The Bucs, who had offered Pearson a one-year, $927,000 contract before free agency began on Feb. 29, had until 4:00 p.m. today to match the offer. They declined.
Although Pearson was a restricted free agent, the Lions are not required to give the Bucs any form of compensation for signing him since Pearson originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
Pearson, 29, has established himself as a solid special teams contributor, notching 61 tackles, including a team-leading 21 special teams takedowns in 2007.
While he's played in 51 career games, Pearson has started just two games on defense. Last season, Pearson recorded 19 tackles in that particular area.
Tampa Bay has starting safeties Tanard Jackson and Jermaine Phillips and backups Sabby Piscitelli and Will Allen under contract for the 2008 season, which was one of the main reasons why the Bucs felt comfortable letting Pearson go to the Lions.
The Lions have also signed several other former Bucs players over the last two years, including defensive tackle Chartric Darby, safety Dwight Smith and defensive end Dewayne White.
Those former Tampa Bay players have been recruited by Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator coach Joe Barry and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, all of who previously worked on the Buccaneers coaching staff.
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