Tampa Bay's 5 Unprotected Players Uncovered

January 23 – Buccaneer Magazine has learned the names of the five players the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made available to the expansion Houston Texans. The National Football League Expansion Draft will be held on Feb. 18, and some of the players the Bucs have given the Texans the option of drafting might surprise you.

Expansion Draft Feb. 18, 2002

EXPANSION LIST RULES

*Teams were not allowed to place kickers or punters on their five-man expansion list.

*Teams were only allowed to submit one player whose salary dramatically escalates in 2002.

*Teams were only able to place one player on the list whose season ended on the injured reserve after starting on 53-man roster.

*Submitted players must have played on a NFL roster all year, which means practice squad players were not eligible.

*NOTE: Tampa Bay can lose two players at the most in the expansion draft. Once the Texans select one player from the Buccaneers, Tamp Bay can then pull one player off of the list. If Houston selects another Tampa Bay player, the Buccaneers can retract the two remaining players on their expansion list.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Five-Man Expansion List Submitted to the Expansion Houston Texans

LB Jeff Gooch

Tampa Bay traded Gooch to St. Louis last offseason, but the trade was void after Gooch failed the Rams' physical. Gooch is a good special teams player and started at the left outside linebacker position for the Bucs in 1997, but his cap value of $2.15 million in 2002 is pretty pricey for a backup linebacker.

DE Marcus Jones

Tampa Bay made Jones available to the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999, but the Browns opted to not select Tampa Bay's 1996 first round pick. Jones turned in an outstanding season in 2000 when he recorded a career-high 13 sacks. But with the addition of RDE Simeon Rice in 2001, Jones was switched from the right end position to the left, and he only managed to record three sacks. Tampa Bay signed Jones to a seven-year contract extension on Nov. 15, 2000, and he has rarely been heard from since. Jones has a $3.75 million cap value in 2002, and if Houston selects him, the Texans would also obligate themselves to Jones' $4.5 million signing bonus.

LG Randall McDaniel

At age 38, McDaniel is a shell of his former self and has one year left on his contract in which he'll make $2 million in base salary and will count $2.667 million against the Bucs' cap due to his $667,000 pro-rated signing bonus. Not only will the Bucs save some money if McDaniel is taken, they will also have to embrace a youth movement at the left guard position.

LS/TE Sean McDermott

McDermott had an excellent year replacing Morris Unutoa as the Bucs' long snapper, but undrafted players like him are easier to find than you might think. There are always lots of players who can long snap coming out of college. Don't be surprised if McDermott is the first player the Bucs would retrieve once the Texans pick.

S Eric Vance

Vance was placed in Tampa Bay's injured reserve at the end of the Bucs' 2001 campaign, and he is signed through the 2002 season and will have a cap value of $473.000 next season. Vance is an outstanding special teams player and has added depth at the safety position, but rookie S John Howell and second-year S David Gibson have played well enough to make Vance expendable.


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