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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently created approximately $1 million in salary cap space by restructuring the contract of middle linebacker Shelton Quarles.

Quarles, who turns 34 in September, was originally scheduled to have a cap value of $3.575 million in 2005, but that number has been reduced to $2.575 million.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Quarles’ restructuring on Thursday morning but suggested that he took a $1.5 million pay cut to remain with the Bucs. However, Quarles’ agent, Jim Steiner, told Pewter Report that his client did not take a pay cut and simply restructured his deal to give the Bucs appoximately $1 million in much-needed cap room this season.

“That’s totally erroneous,” Steiner said in response to the Times’ report that suggested Quarles took a pay cut. “We restructured the contract, there was no pay cut involved.

“Shelton’s willingness to resctucture his deal gave the Bucs about $1 million in cap room.”

Although Steiner did not elaborate, the possibility exists that the $1 million was backloaded into the final two years of Quarles’ deal since there were no years added on to the existing contract.

Although Quarles is signed through the 2007 season, his cap values escalate to $4.575 million and $5.235 million in the final two years of his contract, and that along with the the Bucs’ decision to use a second-round selection on Nebraska MLB Barrett Ruud over the weekend suggests Quarles may not be a Buc beyond this season unless he agrees to rework his deal again.

Quarles has played in 120 games (85 starts) and has notched 653 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble, six fumble recoveries and 21 passes defensed during his eight-year career. He finished last season ranked second on the team with a career-high 163 tackles.

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.

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