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Bucs Want Haye; Maybe Not Coleman
Posted Feb 29, 2008 by Anwar S. Richardson
Updated Feb 29, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Unless one NFL team has fallen in love with Bucs DT Jovan Haye, he will likely remain in Tampa, and Rod Coleman’s future here is now very questionable.
Tampa Bay gave Haye (restricted free agent) a “qualifying” offer (a salary level predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players). Haye can negotiate with any club through April 18, and if he accepts an offer sheet from a new club, Tampa Bay can match the offer and retain him because it has the “right of first refusal.”
If Tampa Bay does not match the offer, it will have to receive a first round draft pick in exchange for Haye, a high price teams might be unwilling to pay. If an offer sheet is not executed, Haye’s rights will revert to Tampa Bay after April 18.
Haye was originally a sixth round draft pick by Carolina in 2005, but for Tampa Bay to offer him a large contract that would require first round compensation, it shows how highly the Bucs think of him. That is not to say Coleman will not join the Bucs, but Haye’s contract means Tampa Bay views Coleman’s addition as a luxury and not a necessity.
Haye had 16 regular season starts, plus one in the postseason, during 2007. He finished with 97 tackles, six sacks and four fumble recoveries (one shy of Bill Kollar’s team record and tied for first in the NFL last season).
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay did not offer restricted free agent LB Antoine Cash a new contract and he is free to sign with any other team, but the Bucs are not entitled to compensation.
Tampa Bay has contacted the agents of linebackers Demorrio Williams and Niko Koutouvides and Cash’s departure confirms they are seriously interested in both players to contribute on special teams and as backups.