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Bucs, Williams set to continue contract talks Monday
Posted May 10, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated May 10, 2013 at 05:07 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – It may not be long now before Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams has a new contract.
Williams’ agent and Bucs general manager Mark Dominik are scheduled to begin a new round of face-to-face negotiations aimed at completing a new deal for Williams here in Tampa on Monday.
The two sides actually began this process a few months ago, but the whole project was shelved after a few weeks to allow the Bucs to concentrate first on free agency and then on the draft.
With both of those events now out of the way the Bucs will get back to the business of attempting to wrap up a new deal for one of their most consistent and perhaps underpaid offensive performers.
Williams, who is scheduled to make $1.4 million in 2013, averaged 64 receptions for 910 yards and eight touchdowns his first three years, and both sides agree he has outperformed his original contract.
But that was to be expected. A fourth-round draft pick who was considered by many scouts a first- or second-round talent, Williams initially signed a four-year, $2.328 million contract with the Bucs.
He immediately began outplaying that deal, though, catching 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie. Now he’s on the brink of cashing in and he could be in line for at least a $6 million-a-year pay raise.
That would make his take-home pay similar to that of several other receivers who have recently signed new contracts but have not necessarily produced at the same rate or with the same degree of consistency that Williams has.
Brian Hartline, for example, recently signed a five-year, $30.7 million deal with the Dolphins, but his 51 catch, 749-yard, 1 TD averages the last three years pale in comparison to Williams.
A better comparison to Williams’ likely value comes from Antonio Brown, who recently signed a six-year, $43 million deal with the Steelers. But Brown has only put together two Williams-like seasons.
After catching just 16 passes for 167 yards and no touchdowns as a rookie three years ago, Brown has averaged 69 receptions, 948 yards and four touchdowns the last two seasons.
With the exception of the touchdowns, those averages are right in line with Williams, so no one should be surprised if Williams new contract proves to to be right in line with Brown’s.
Tebow not a fit for Bucs; at least not as a quarterback
Posted Apr 29, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Apr 29, 2013 at 03:14 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – Tim Tebow’s fascinating yet disappointing year-long run on Broadway will officially come to an end at 4 p.m. today when the New York Jets decision to release him officially kicks in.
What everyone, including Buccaneers fans, wants to know now is where will Tebow land next. It’s hard to know but the likelihood of him landing in Tampa is quite slim, at best.
The Bucs have no interest in Tebow as a quarterback, in part because he doesn’t really fit their prototype as a big-armed deep passer and also because they just added a prospect with that quality in third-round draft pick Mike Glennon.
There may, however, be some interest in Tebow as a fullback or tight end. The only problem is, Tebow has yet to express any desire to play either of those positions.
Should Tebow ever change his mind, the Bucs just might take a stab at him. They could use some depth at both positions and they have a history under general manager Mark Dominik of moving prospects from one position to another.
They did that a couple years ago with fullback Erik Lorig. The Bucs drafted Lorig as a defensive end out of Stanford in the seventh round in 2010 and immediately moved him to tight end before eventually making him theri starting fullback.
They also did something similar with right tackle Demar Dotson, who first played football as a defensive lineman at Southern Mississippi but has since been developed into an effective offensive lineman.
For that reason alone the Tebow watch is worth following. Tebow is likely to find out very soon that few teams have any interest in him whatsoever as a quarterback and that his NFL future, if he has one, likely lies at another position.
If Tebow ever comes to that realization and decides to let all 32 NFL teams in on it there will probably be a spike in the interest NFL teams have in him. The Bucs might even have some interest at that point but until then they’re not investing in Tebow’s off-Broadway production.
Bucs trade Blount to Pats for Demps, 7th-round pick
Posted Apr 27, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Apr 27, 2013 at 05:01 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday traded running back LeGarrette Blount to the New England Patriots for a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft and the rights to running back/track star Jeff Demps.
The Bucs then used the seventh-round pick they got from New England to trade up to the 189th overall spot in the draft where they immediately grabbed a potential replacement for Blount by drafting University of Miami running back Mike James.
“We’ve talked to Jeff a little bit, and we understand what he’s doing,’’ Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said of Demps, who is attempting to maintain a track career while also pursuing a football career.
“We’re just taking the rights to him to see what happen. He practiced here against us last year in Tampa (during the preseason) and played agaisnt us and had a good game against us.
“But that wasn’t the reason for the trade. He was part of it, but not the reson. We were going to do LeGartette for a seventh-round pick but we took the rights to Jeff Demps because we want to investigate that further.’’
Blount first came to the Bucs as a waiver acquisition prior to the start of the 2010 season and had a break out year as a rookie, running 201 times for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns.
But Blount struggled in several key areas including pass catching, pass protection and he often failed to carry out his running assignments properly, leaving coaches frustrated.
Concerned by his limitations, the Bucs drafted Doug Martin as their feature back a year ago and that all but sealed Blount’s fate as he ran the ball just 41 times for 151 yards in limited duty last year.
The Bucs re-signed Blount during the offseason to a one-year, $1.75 million contract but that was done largely to protect them against loss as the team has been shopping him since the end of last season.
“For us, LeGarrette is going into the final year of his contract and we’ve had LeGarrette with us for a couple different (coaching) staffs and all I can tell you is he’s been a good player for but we felt this was best for our team,’’ Dominik said.
Demps is a University of Florida product who passed on an opportunity to prepare for the NFL scouting combine last year to prepare instead for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The sprinter won a silver medal as a member of the United States 4 X 100 meter relay team and later signed on with the Patriots, but he never appeared in a regular season game for New England.
The decision to move Blount leaves the Bucs with no specified backup to Martin, but with Brian Leonard and Michael Smith on the roster Dominik said he may not be done adding to his backfield.
“We still have time lef and we’ll see how the day plays out,’’ Dominik said. “And just because the draft ends, that doesn’t mean we’re done with running backs. We still have time (to add a backl) before we take that first snap.’’
Bucs address D-line needs with 4th-round picks
Posted Apr 27, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Apr 27, 2013 at 02:50 PM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed their need for help along the defensive line in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
The Bucs trade up to the third spot in the round to take Illinois tackle Akeem Spence and then sat tight at No. 126 overall to take Michigan State end William Gholston.
The 6-foot, 307-pound Spence is considered to be superb run stopper who possesses the ability to get into the backfield and breakup plays while the 6-6, 281-pound Gholston has the ability to become a dynamic pass rusher.
Spence recorded 17.5 tackles for loss during his three-year starting career with the Illini while Gholston recorded 9.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss his last two years with the Spartans.
Gholston also set a school record for defensive lineman last year by breaking up 10 passes, a skill he attributed to a technique taught to him by his coaches during practice.
“We were taught in practice to put up the same hand that the quarterback used to release the ball and we did it every day and with so much repetition, it became a habit and we were just able to swat down the ball,’’ Gholston said.
Gholston, who was suspended for a game as a senior for a game in 2011 for punching a Michigan player during a game, has been criticized for a lack of consistency. There is nothing inconsistent about Spence, though.
He’s been lauded for his effort and consistency getting into the backfield and working his way down the line to make plays against the run, though he does lack ideal pass rush skills, scouts say.
“I play with a lot of power,” Spence said. “I am real strong. I have a great first step. What you notice on film is that I make a lot of plays chasing those receivers down from behind. Knocking the ball out or just playing from sideline to sideline. As you can see on film I play real hard.’’
The Bucs spent their fifth-round pick, No. 147 overall, on Buffalo outside linebacker Steve Means, a three-year starter who finished his college career with 18.5 sack, the fourth-most in school history.
Report: Bucs granted permission to examine Revis
Posted Apr 21, 2013 by Roy Cummings
Updated Apr 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM
BY ROY CUMMINGS
TAMPA – One of the biggest obstacles standing the way of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers completing a trade for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has apparently been cleared.
The Bucs have been granted permission to give Revis a physical, which is scheduled to take place sometime today in Tampa, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Neither Bucs nor Jets officials would immediately confirm the report, but if true the report denotes a significant step in the process of the cornerback needy Bucs completing a trade for Revis.
The Bucs and Jets have been discussing a possible trade of Revis for weeks, but one of the hang-ups has been the Bucs desire to examine Revis, who is recovering form a torn left ACL suffered last September.
The Bucs, who are admittedly short on starting caliber cornerbacks, have expressed a willingness to part with the 13th pick in this year’s draft for Revis, who is considered by many to be the best cornerback in the game today.