Bucs Inside Slant June 24-30

As the offseason disappears in the rearview mirror, the buzz around One Buc Place is still centered around the quarterback position. Did you miss what Bruce Allen said about Jeff Garica, Jake Plummer and Chris Simms? Catch up now and get the Bucs Inside Slant from the NFL experts at Scout.com.

THE INSIDE SLANT

Jeff Garcia may have been declared the Bucs' starter by Jon Gruden. But that hasn't stopped the Bucs coach from wanting Jake Plummer.

Plummer is subject to being fined for missing the Bucs' three-day mandatory minicamp that concluded last Thursday and indications are the team will ask him to repay about $7 million in pro-rated signing bonus if he fails to play this season.

Tampa Bay acquired the rights to Plummer in a trade with Denver March 3 in exchange for a conditional draft pick, prompting him to announce plans to retire from the NFL. Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said he recently spoke to Plummer and the team still hopes the 32-year-old quarterback reports to training camp July 27.

"You can't unilaterally retire as a player in the NFL, because you have a contract," Allen said. "He is under the same obligations as every player on the team.

"It is resolved. We've traded for him and it's no different than if he elects not to report to camp, no different than when Keenan McCardell didn't report to camp or when you see other players hold out. There's no difference."

McCardell, who failed to report to training camp in 2004, was ordered to repay $1.5 million of his signing bonus to the Bucs after eventually being traded to the San Diego Chargers.

Plummer has three years left on his contract and is scheduled to earn $5.3-million in 2007, which would make him the highest-paid quarterback on the team. His salary currently counts against the Bucs' salary cap. Plummer was the only of 95 players on the roster who did not attend the three-day mandatory minicamp.

"We're not getting into personal conversations," Allen said of Plummer. "We traded for him with the intent of him playing for the Buccaneers. He knows that and we've been very clear what we see for him and his future. We'll just have to see if we have a meeting of the minds."

The Bucs have six quarterbacks working in the off-season, including Eagles free agent Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski. Sources close to Plummer have said he is steadfast in his plans to retire, although he has not formally filed his papers with the NFL office.

If Plummer elects to play, the Bucs owe Denver a fourth round pick in the 2008 draft. Otherwise, it becomes a seventh-rounder.

Allen said the Bucs have not entertained the idea of trading Plummer to another team.

"The intent is the absolute same. We want him on our team," Allen said.

"He's on our salary cap right now and he missed minicamp. By contract, there's certain obligations a player has. We're going to have further talks with him."

Allen wouldn't specifically address what sanctions they may seek against Plummer for not attending the mandatory minicamp.

"We've never really discussed what we do disciplinary-wise publicly," Allen said. "He's aware of where we stand with that and hopefully reports to training camp.

"Obviously, we haven't missed a beat with him not here. We're preparing for our season. The quarterback competition, as you all know, has been very lively and we feel good with the players we have here. So we're not waiting for anybody. We're going forward."

Meanwhile, Simms still is struggling to regain his throwing motion following surgery to remove his spleen last September. Allen said Simms has been medically cleared to play and insists Simms still has a future with the team.

"I see Chris' future no different than it has been the last few years," Allen said. "He's one of the hardest workers you'll find. He loves the game of football and he will regain his stroke because he's dedicated to the game. He'll get better with time. He's a young man who's got a good future."'

Coming off a 4-12 record, the Bucs' third losing season in the past four years, Allen said that he and Gruden feel no additional pressure to win in '07.

"That pressure is constant in the league because you want to win," Allen said.

"We didn't have a good season last year. We had a good season the previous year and we had a bad season the year before that. What we're looking to do is win and build the team from the ground up to a winner. You feel that pressure no matter what you do in life and it doesn't matter what team you're on. And you love it."'

NOTES, QUOTES

— The Bucs have contacted Jaguars free agent safety Donovin Darius, who was released by the Jaguars last week. Darius, 31, has visited Oakland and received interest from Carolina and Buffalo. He's played just 12 games in the past two seasons due to injuries.

"We've checked into Donovin Darius, but we like where we're at right now," general manager Bruce Allen said.

— Defensive end Charles Bennett, who missed most of the minicamp with a left knee injury, could begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. "Other than that, everybody else will be ready to go," Allen said.

— Allen did not expect any problem signing the Bucs' 10 draft picks to contracts prior to training camp.

— The Bucs signed punter Sean Douglas and defensive end Jeremy Pittman. To make room for those players, the team released linebacker Jerry Mackey and kicker Garrett Rivas.

Douglas handled the punting duties at the University of Washington the past three seasons and finished his career with a 42.8-yard gross average. Pittman was a tryout player during the Bucs' three-day rookie minicamp in May. Last season at Central Arkansas, he had 24 tackles and one sack.

QUOTE TO NOTE "If he doesn't, we're going to change his name to Wal-Mart." — Bucs coach Jon Gruden on whether Tennessee guard Arron Sears will help them next season. Sears sat out of the mandatory minicamp for undisclosed reasons.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers) : TE Doug Jolley (not tendered as UFA); LB Wesley Mallard (not tendered as UFA); FB Jerald Sowell (not tendered as UFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: Not available.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: S Tanard Jackson: 4/106; terms unknown; CB Marcus Hamilton: 7/245; terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: FB Mike Alstott: Potential UFA; $1.5M/1 yr, SB unknown; CB Phillip Buchanon: UFA; $5M/2 yrs, SB unknown; DT Darrell Campbell: ERFA; terms unknown; CB Torrie Cox: UFA; terms unknown; LS Andrew Economos: ERFA; terms unknown; S Kalvin Pearson: ERFA; terms unknown; OG Jeb Terry: RFA; $850,000/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: FB B.J. Askew: UFA Jets; 1 yr, terms unknown; WR David Boston: FA, terms unknown; DE Kevin Carter: FA Dolphins; $25M/4 yrs, SB unknown; DE Patrick Chukwurah: UFA Broncos; $5.5M/5 yrs, SB unknown; CB Sammy Davis: FA 49ers; terms unknown; QB Jeff Garcia: UFA Eagles; $7M/2 yrs, SB unknown; LB Cato June: UFA Colts; 3 yrs, terms unknown; OG Matt Lehr: FA Falcons; 1 yr, terms unknown; OT Luke Petitgout: FA Giants; $15.5M/3 yrs, $3M SB; 2007 cap: $4M; QB Jake Plummer (trade Broncos); DT Ryan Sims (trade Chiefs); TE Jerramy Stevens: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST: S Blue Adams: RFA rights terminated; CB Juran Bolden (released); OT Chris Colmer (released/failed physical); OT Cornell Green: UFA Raiders; terms unknown; OG Sean Mahan: UFA Steelers; $17M/5 yrs, $4M SB; LS/TE Dave Moore: UFA; retired; LB Shelton Quarles (released/failed physical); QB Tim Rattay: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown; OT Kenyatta Walker (released/failed physical); DE Dewayne White: UFA Lions; $29M/5 yrs, $13M guaranteed.

— Information compiled by the SportsXchange.


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