McCardell, Alexander To Visit Bucs This Week

June 4 - Two of the top free agent wide receivers in the post-June 1 market -- Keenan McCardell and Derrick Alexander -- are expected to visit with Tampa Bay's brass at One Buccaneer Place this week.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are officially in the hunt for one of the top wide receivers who were released on Monday, June 3, which began the second wave of NFL free agency. But just which receiver -- out of a mix that includes Keenan McCardell, formerly of Jacksonville, Derrick Alexander, who was released by Kansas City, and Antonio Freeman, formerly of Green Bay -- will land in Tampa Bay is still up in the air.

According to ESPN, both McCardell and Alexander are expected to visit Tampa Bay this week, with McCardell making a stop at One Buc Place on Wednesday after his current visit ends with Kansas City. Four other teams, including Houston, Cleveland and possibly Atlanta and Minnesota, called McCardell's agent, Gary Uberstine, expressing interest.

The Bucs have a sincere interest in signing the 6-foot-1, 191-pound McCardell, whose best attributes include his consistent production, his professionalism, route-running ability and his clutch hands. McCardell, who is entering his 11th season in the league, has 579 career catches for 7,526 yards with 38 touchdowns and a career average of 13 yards per catch.

But Tampa Bay is also intrigued by Alexander, who has already visited Minnesota. The Vikings are expected to be the leading candidate for his services, but Alexander will also take trips to New England and Tampa Bay this week.

Alexander has a career 17-yard per catch average and big play ability, which new head coach Jon Gruden craves. His 6-foot-2, 206-pound frame also fits the Bucs' current trend about adding bigger receivers. He has 403 career catches for 6,837 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Alexander has had run-ins with different coaches throughout his eight-year NFL career, but the confrontational Gruden has never backed away from signing controversial players. In Oakland, Gruden squeezed some productivity out of characters like Andre Rison.

McCardell and Alexander, who both played together in Cleveland from 1994-95, are highly thought of at One Buc Place, but Tampa Bay might settle for Freeman if those two receivers sign elsewhere. Freeman's agent, Joel Segal, told ESPN that four teams have called expressing interest, but did not reveal the identity of those teams. Baltimore is currently regarded as the favorite to sign Freeman.

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