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Antonio Bryant Accepts Franchise Tag

Posted Feb 26, 2009 by Anwar S. Richardson

Updated Feb 26, 2009 at 07:12 PM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Bryant has accepted the franchise tag recently given to him by the Bucs, ensuring he will remain in uniform at least one more season.

Lamont Smith, his agent, confirmed it to The Tampa Tribune via text message late Thursday afternoon.

Placing the tag on Bryant gave the Bucs a measure of protection against losing Bryant in the free agent market, but also required the Bucs to pay Bryant $9.8 million in 2009.

Bryant had hoped for a long-term deal, at least five to six years, and negotiations between he and the Bucs can continue even now that Bryant has signed the one-year offer. If a longterm deal is not reached, he will be eligible for free agency again in 2010.

Bryant had 83 receptions for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns last season, establishing himself as one of the NFL’s premier receivers after sitting out one year because of a league suspension. Smith previously said Bryant earned $760,000 last season.