"Agent Drew Rosenhaus introduced the topic in a meeting with Bucs general manager Rich McKay last month. Rosenhaus said talks will continue during training camp, which begins July 29 at Disney's Wide World of Sports," according to the Times.
But on Wednesday, McKay denied talking to Rosenhaus about any extension for Sapp, and indicated that he didn't plan on starting talks regarding the situation.
"I've had absolutely no discussions with Drew about it," McKay said. "I've told him in the past and will continue to tell him that. Warren's got two years left at tremendously high salaries, which he's earned. When the time is right we'll sit down and talk about it, but we don't have any pressing cap needs. There's no reason to do it. He's not pushing us, we're not pushing him. We'll deal with that in the future."
Sapp is scheduled to carry a salary cap charge of $6.98 million in 2002 with a base salary of $5.25 million. In 2003, the last year of his contract, Sapp's salary cap value rises to $8.33 million, and he will carry a base salary of $6.6 million.
Tampa Bay has made it a policy of not offering extensions to players with more than a year remaining on their contract, but veered away from that practice last summer when linebacker Derrick Brooks was awarded a new contract after holding out the first 10 days of training camp.
McKay did not expect Sapp or any player to hold out this season, and Rosenhaus told the St. Petersburg Times "that Sapp has no plans to miss training camp."
So why did Rosenhaus give the impression that talks were ongoing between he and McKay regarding Sapp? A report in Monday's edition of ProFootballWeekly.com revealed Rosenhaus' strategy, reporting that Rosenhaus is planning on initiating conversations with teams regarding several of his high-profile clients that still have a few years left on their existing contracts.
"I have players such as Jevon (Kearse), Warren Sapp, Hugh Douglas, Zach Thomas and Fred Taylor, all of whom have two years or less on their existing contracts," Rosenhaus told PFW.com. "And deals for those guys will become central negotiating topics for me as early as the start of training camp.
"The way the system has become, it just makes sense to rework those deals before they expire. I'm just a few weeks away from working around the clock."
Apparently McKay and the Bucs have a different view regarding when Sapp's contract should be reworked. But both agreed that Sapp should remain in Tampa and retire as a Buc.
"I think that would be the goal, that would definitely be the goal to allow Warren to finish his career as a Buccaneer," Rosenhaus told the St. Petersburg Times. "He loves Tampa, he's very, very happy as a Buc. He should be a lifer."
"Obviously we want Warren to be a Buc forever," McKay said. "He should end his career here. That's the way it should go."
McKay also expects Sapp to rebound from a down year statistically speaking, and bounce back from offseason surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff that he suffered in the preseason last year. After logging 16.5 sacks in 2000, Sapp had just six quarterback takedowns last year.
"I felt Warren played pretty well," McKay said, summarizing Sapp's 2001 campaign. "Given the circumstance down the stretch where he went the last five weeks without practicing much at all, and that's a problem. That's hard. I thought where it affected Warren the most was in his strength. He wasn't able to move guys at all because of his shoulder.
"Warren had a great offseason. He's in great shape and his participation was much beyond which you expect of an All-Pro player like that. He truly has had a nice offseason. I think Warren is going to have a very good year. Warren played pretty well. The sack number wasn't all that we thought it would be."
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