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How much do Bucs value RB Blount; we’ll soon find out

Posted Mar 4, 2013 by Roy Cummings

Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 05:33 PM

Tribune Staff

TAMPA – With the start of the free-agency signing period now just eight days away, resolutions regarding the futures of S Ronde Barber, LB Quincy Black and CB Eric Wright are not the only decisions the Bucs have to make in the coming days.

The Bucs also have to decide just how much they want to restrict the movement of their three restricted free agents – RB LeGarrette Blount, DE Daniel Te’o- Nesheim and LB Jacob Cutrera.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik has expressed a desire to retain all three players, so with Blount and Cutrera, who went undrafted, he has three options and with Te’o-Nesheim, who was a third-round pick of the Eagles in 2010, he has two.

With Blount and Cutrera the Bucs can opt to place either a first-round tender worth $2.879 million, a second-round tender worth $2.023 million or a right-of-first-refusal tender worth $1.323 million on them.

In Te’o-Nesheim’s case the Bucs can go with either the right-of-first-refusal tender or an original-round tender, which is also worth $1.323 million but includes draft-pick compensation.

That’s the part that makes the decisions enticing. The Bucs can assure themselves that the loss of any of those three players will at least result in them receiving a draft pick in return, and in the case of Blount it could be a big one.

The Bucs are considering placing a first-round tender on Blount, in part because Dominik says he never wants to leave himself short at the running back position the way he did in 2010, especially now that the Bucs offense is a run-first attack.

Of course, a second-round tender might be enough to keep anyone from stealing Blount away as well, but that is one of the decisions the Bucs have to make before the 4 p.m. March 12 deadline rolls around.

As for Te’o-Nesheim and Cutrera, look for the Bucs to place an original round tender on Te’o-Nesheim and the right-of-first-refusal tender on Cutrera. They value both as depth players, at the very least.

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