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Bucs Don’t Match Pearson’s Offer

Posted Mar 12, 2008 by Anwar S. Richardson

Updated Mar 12, 2008 at 04:07 PM

Tampa Bay restricted free agent S Kalvin Pearson signed a three-year contract with Detroit worth $3.5 million, with $1.1 million guaranteed, after the Bucs did not match the Lions’ offer.

Tampa Bay originally offered Pearson a one-year deal worth $927,000, but he rejected it in hopes of getting a lengthier commitment from another team. After speaking with several teams, Pearson decided to play for Detroit coach Rod Marinelli, who was an assistant coach in Tampa Bay from 1996 to 2005.

“At the start of negotiations, our goal was for Kalvin to remain in Tampa,” said Michael Hawthorne, Pearson’s agent. “We wanted a four-year deal so he could close his career in Tampa, but that did not happen.”

The Bucs had seven days to match Detroit’s offer before eventually deciding to pass. Tampa Bay will not receive any draft compensation for Pearson because he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2002.

Pearson, who earned $516,360 last season, led Tampa Bay with 21 special teams tackles - 19 on defense - last season. The 29-year old started in Tampa Bay’s season finale against Carolina and recorded a career-high 16 tackles in Tampa Bay’s 31-23 loss.

“We feel good about our new situation,” Hawthorne said. “Detroit has invested a lot into him, so now it’s about to Kalvin.”

Tampa Bay will now look to S Sabby Piscitelli to replace Pearson’s productivity on special teams. CB Sammy Davis, who was recently resigned, will also have a chance to play more on special teams, while the Bucs also expected to beef up their secondary through this year’s draft, and that person will likely receive an opportunity to replace Pearson.