Warren Sapp is sure to draw the interest of the majority of the NFL when he becomes a free agent next year. The Buccaneers have not been reckless with their money, but the team has put itself in a position in which it will not be able to compete for Sapp monetarily when the season is over. Sapp will have to want to stay for reasons other than money if he is to remain a Buc. The Bucs will ask Sapp to stay out of loyalty, a virtue they did not adhere to when they signed Anthony McFarland on Tuesday.
The Bucs have a chance to put together a dynasty if they keep the core of last year's team intact. Sapp and McFarland are a part of that core, but Sapp is closer to the center because he provides leadership by being an emotional leader. Anyone who has watched a Bucs' game in the past two years can tell you that these two men are great compliments to each other, the proof lies in the number of wins and sacks. Respect should have been given to the elder of the two, but the way it was done has to leave Sapp asking where he fits in after all he has done in building the franchise.
What is to be gained by playing hardball and signing McFarland first? That is a question that has left many Buccaneer fans shaking their heads. Sure they are glad to have Booger signed on for the future, but not at the expense of losing Sapp. General Manager Rich McKay can talk until he is blue in the face about how the signing does not affect his intention of signing Sapp to a career deal, but it has to affect Sapp's intentions of signing one.
Many fans have had an opportunity to speak to the former Hurricane due to his approachable demeanor, and many of them would say that the All-Pro is comfortable with the people and places in Tampa. He has the means to shower expensive gifts on his teammates, so money is not the most important thing on his list, though it may be near the top. These factors would indicate that he would want to stay with a championship caliber team in a city that loves him. By signing McFarland first, the Bucs have flushed all of these positives down the toilet and turned the negotiations into a "strictly business" situation that they cannot compete in. Hopefully, Sapp will be the bigger person and look past this affront and keep the team's hopes of creating a dynasty intact.
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