Buccaneers cornerback options dwindling

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers watched as the signings of Asante Samuel, Drayton Florence and Jacques Reeves on Friday and Saturday severely depleted the ranks at cornerback. With New England cornerback Randall Gay coming to Tampa Bay on Monday, the former Super Bowl champ may represent their best chance to upgrade their cornerback ranks in free agency in 2008.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered free agency with $43.7 million to spend. But did you know their salary cap threshold is not the $116.7 million that was set by the NFL? How much is it and how is a little-known clause in the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement affecting the Bucs and free agency? Find out by clicking here.

New England cornerback Randall Gay agreed to a four-year contract with New Orleans on Sunday, bypassing a scheduled meeting with the Buccaneers on Monday to sign with his hometown team and leaving the Bucs with only Ronde Barber and Phillip Buchanon as reliable options.

Gay, a fourth-year pro, won a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. He signed with the Pats as an undrafted rookie out of LSU.

Gay has 86 career tackles and five career interceptions.

Gay met with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. Gay is a Louisiana native who starred at LSU.

Instead the Bucs hosted New England safety Eugene Wilson, according to his agent, James Sims.

Already during free agency the Bucs have missed out on signing a capable cornerback to complement Barber and Buchanon.

The Philadelphia Eagles shelled out $57 million over six years to Asante Samuel, but $20 million of that is guaranteed and he's entitled to $32 million over the first three years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Florence to a six-year deal that averages $6 million per season and includes $12 million in bonus money.

The Houston Texans agreed with Reeves on a five-year, $20 million deal on Saturday.

There is another potential option for the Buccaneers in Philadelphia's Lito Sheppard. With Samuel signed, the Eagles have reportedly put Sheppard on the market. Sheppard is a two-time Pro Bowler, but has four years left on his contract.

Other notes

Wide receivers: Now that Bernard Berrian and Donte Stallworth have signed, they've set the market for wide receivers. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they've set the bar pretty high. Stallworth's deal with the Browns is seven years for $35 million, but only $10 million of that is guaranteed. Berrian will get six years and $42 million. So what does that mean for players like Seattle's D.J. Hackett or Arizona's Bryant Johnson? A pretty big payday, to be sure.

Linebackers: Demorrio Williams is now off the market, a player the Bucs wanted to meet with. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bucs are slated to meet with Detroit's Teddy Lehman on Monday, a player that could be the answer to their depth issues at linebacker. He played in the Cover 2 for two years with the Lions.

Want to hear the rest of the rumored player visits and player moves that could affect the Bucs? Click here to access the story, which is constantly updated.

How does the signing of tight end John Gilmore affect the Bucs, and what exactly are they getting? Click here for the inside scoop.

Can't keep up with all the player movement? No problem. Just access the Bucsblitz.com Free Agency tracker, which will keep you abreast of all of the Bucs' confirmed signings and departures Click here to access the tracker.

Don't forget about the NFL Draft. Bucsblitz.com was one of two Tampa-based media outlets at the Scouting Combine and filed tons of information every day on prospects the Buccaneers could draft. Did you miss it? All you need is the Bucsblitz.com Combine Tracker, an archive of all of our stories from Indianapolis. Click here to access the tracker.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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