Buccaneers Ink CB Smith To 4-Year Deal

July 17 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued to sign their 2001 draft picks at a rapid rate on Tuesday when they inked third-round cornerback Dwight Smith to a four-year deal worth $1.8 million. The Bucs have four draft picks who remain unsigned.

Five down, four to go. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers inked their fifth draft pick to a contract on Tuesday when third-round cornerback Dwight Smith was signed to a four-year deal.

Smith will be paid the rookie minimum in 2001 of $209,000, $298,000 in the second year, $389,000 in the third year and $418,000 in the fourth year. Smith, who played at Akron, had a signing bonus of close to $500,000.

Out of all of the rookies at the team's April and summer mini-camps, Smith made the biggest impression on coaches and the personnel staff. The physical, ballhawking cornerback will push Brian Kelly hard for the nickel back job this year.

Smith's signing leaves just four draft picks unsigned: first-round pick LT Kenyatta Walker (Florida), fourth-round pick FS John Howell (Colorado State), and seventh-rounders TE Daunte` Finger (North Carolina) and DE Joe Tafoya (Arizona). The signings of Finger and Tafoya are expected to come to fruition as early as Wednesday, but talks with Howell have hit a little snag.

Once Howell, Finger and Tafoya are signed, Bucs general manager Rich McKay and director of football administration John Idzik will turn their attention to signing Walker before training camp begins on July 29 at the University of Tampa's Pepin-Rood Stadium.


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