Has Alstott Played Last Game For Tampa Bay?

Will Alstott be a salary cap cut?

By Jeff Berlinicke

TAMPA – In these days of the salary cap, Bucs fans, as well as any in the NFL, have had to learn a harsh reality. The cap can be cruel and merciless, and feelings don't matter to the players or the fans.

The cap levels the playing field. In what other sport could a team in Green Bay or Jacksonville actually compete with the big boys? Still, there are times when logic goes out the window and loyalties die hard.

That may be the situation the Bucs face in the next few weeks as the hard decisions come down on some popular old standbys, much like they did when John Lynch and Joe Jurivicius were jettisoned for cap reasons.

There are several long standing Bucs who may feel the knife, but if it comes down on running back Mike Alstott, the pain could be worse than ever. Alstott, of course, has played every one of his NFL downs for the Bucs, dating back to the orange popsickle days. However, with the emergence of Cadillac Williams and a dependable Michael Pittman as the backup, Alstott's days could be numbered.

It would be a shame, of course, but the time may be right to send Alstott on his way. After 10 years in which he established himself as the franchise's all-time touchdown leader, Alstott is slowing down. He scored six touchdowns, but rushed for only 80 yards and a 2.4 yards per carry average. As a receiver, he caught 24 passes. It's hard to ignore the six rushing touchdowns, but most came during Williams' absence. Williams shows all the signs of being a Shawn Alexander clone, and if he's healthy for 16 games, that makes Alstott expendable.

The Bucs front office is saying all the right things, vowing that they would love Alstott back next season, but when it comes time to crunch the numbers, they may have to make some decisions that aren't pleasing to longtime Bucs fans looking for a hero. Alstott is the consummate team guy, but in today's NFL, it's been proven over and over that that doesn't count for much.

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