According to several published reports, McCardell will sign a four-year contract worth $10 million with the Bucs, including a $2 million signing bonus.
McCardell became a free agent on June 3 when the Jacksonville Jaguars released him in a salary cap maneuver. McCardell and WR Derrick Alexander, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last Monday, were the cream of the crop in terms of post-June 1 free agent wide receivers. Tampa Bay brought both players into its headquarters – One Buccaneer Place -- for visits earlier in the week, but in the end, it was clear the Bucs preferred McCardell over Alexander.
Alexander had been negotiating with Minnesota since Monday, and he agreed to terms with the Vikings on Friday afternoon.
As Pewter Report reported on Thursday, a group of prominent Bucs players, including strong safety John Lynch and defensive tackle Warren Sapp, wined and dined with McCardell on Wednesday night at Malio's, an upscale restaurant in Tampa. Some of Bucs head coach Jon Gruden's players were apparently following through on his request for Tampa Bay's players to help court McCardell.
On Thursday, McCardell spent the afternoon at Tampa Bay's voluntary workout, which was held at Raymond James Stadium. The workout featured game-like elements and the atmosphere, which included a live Bucsvision, fresh white paint for yard markers and explosions from the pirate ship, showed McCardell what life could be like as a Buc.
The 6-foot-1, 191-pound McCardell, has made a name for himself in the NFL as a possession receiver, but he's also known for his consistent production, his professionalism, route-running ability and his clutch hands. He doesn't possess blazing speed, but he still has averaged 13-yards per reception as a No. 2 receiver in the pros.
McCardell, 32, is also durable. He's started 104 of the 132 games he's played in during his 11-year career and he's missed just one regular season game since 1995.
In each of the last two seasons, McCardell hauled in over 90 receptions and had over 1,000 yards receiving. McCardell has 579 career catches for 7,526 yards. Although he has never caught more than six touchdowns in a single season, McCardell has scored 38 career touchdowns.
McCardell entered the NFL out of Nevada-Las Vegas with the Washington Redskins in 1991. After a one-year stay in Washington, McCardell spent 1992-1995 with the Cleveland Browns and then 1996-2001 with the Jaguars.
Although Tampa Bay signed free agent WR Joe Jurevicius earlier in the offseason and drafted WR Marquise Walker in April, they still were determined to further upgrade their wide receiver position, and they feel they have done exactly that by adding McCardell to their receiving corps.
By landing McCardell, the Bucs feel they have found a No. 2 receiver to compliment WR Keyshawn Johnson and take some of the pressure off of the Bucs' top receiver. The addition of McCardell likely will slot Jurevicius as the team's No. 3 receiver. By bringing McCardell aboard its ship, the Pewter Pirates will keep five, six or possibly seven receivers on their final 53-man roster, depending on who can contribute to both the offense and on special teams. That leaves Walker, Frank Murphy, Karl Williams, E.G Green, Milton Wynn, Darryl Daniel, Aaron Lockett, Keith Poole, Eddie Hardaway and Jermale Kelly competing for the remaining receiver spots.
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