This year’s Buccaneers training camp will open with virtually no serious distractions. With today’s media driven by TMZ-type sensationalized angles and storylines, we here at BuccaneerTalk.com are happy that there will not be too much for the Bucs to worry about, except FOOTBALL. With Aqib Talib and Eric Wright getting their off the field issues negated, the Bucs do not have any legal matters to discuss, tend to, and wait on. We don’t have to worry about which of our players is dating the latest athlete-chasing celebutante. We don’t have to worry about a coach who is starting this season on the “hot seat”.
There are no veteran players holding out for a better contract.
That does not mean that we are beginning our 2012 campaign question-free. There are some issues that must be discussed, handled, and rectified.
Questions to be answered:
- When will our top pick, former Alabama Safety Mark Barron sign his contract and report?
Mark Barron is not necessarily “holding out” as many media outlets are implying. Instead, he’s simply playing the “waiting game” right now. The top 8 draft picks of this season have yet to sign on the dotted line and report to their respective teams. Nobody in the top 8 seems to want to set the standard by signing first. Everybody is waiting to for somebody else to sign. Once a player in the top 8 does sign a contract, expect a rapid amount of contract signings by these guys to follow very soon afterwards. Various media outlets report that there is another issue that is holding up the process of these 8 players signing. “Offset Language”. What is that? ESPN’S Andrew Brandt explains this issue on this podcast. Per Brandt, “Teams want language in the contract; these are fully guaranteed contracts, saying that if they cut the player at some point and he signs with another team, they offset their guarantee. So they cut a player, he signs for a million dollars somewhere, that million comes off what they owe.’’ In the spirit of protecting a pro franchise’s monetary interests, we understand teams pursuing this matter. But if you did all of the necessary due diligence and research expected of a franchise drafting that high, shouldn’t you be confident that you are keeping your drafted player around until his 1st contract expires? There are isolated cases of 1st round draft picks not panning out in the first 3 years of their careers, so with that being a reference, we are all going to have to wait on this matter to be resolved between teams, their players, and the players’ agents.
- Will Bucs DT Brian Price have all of his issues behind him when camp starts?
As we here at BuccaneerTalk.com have mentioned before, Bucs DT Brian Price has had it hard. He came to the Bucs with tragedy already deeply rooted into his life, having lost two brothers to shootings in his hometown of South Central Los Angeles. Then, as a Bucs Rookie, he suffered the devastating injury to both hamstrings, in which both muscles tore completely off of the bone. His second season (last season), he had to deal with rehabilitating that injury, and missed huge chunks of playing time. He also suffered high ankle sprains to both ankles as well. Then, came this offseason in which things really made us here question, “how much can a man go through before he snaps?”. Already dealing with the loss of his two brothers, he lost his favorite sibling, his sister, to a car accident. Her sudden death also was accompanied by Price willingly adding to his stress by his making the manliest and most honorable of decisions, adopting his two nephews who were now without a mother. As we mentioned on our site here, Brian Price indeed, snapped. He was sent away by the team after attacking the aforementioned Bucs Rookie S, Mark Barron, in a dispute over a seat during OTA’s. Regardless of all of this, he still has the chance to not only be a contributor to this team, he also has the chance to make a real impact and help this defense change for the better. He is a rare talent at the Defensive Tackle position. His first step and burst are lightning quick for a man of his size and stature, and his motor never stops. If this young man can get past all of these issues and overcome his personal adversity, he should be considered for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The question is, with so much on his plate, can he realistically overcome all of these obstacles? Only time will tell.
- Will Roger Goodell force the Bucs to change/switch personnell by suspending CB’s Aqib Talib or Eric Wright even though all charges dropped?
The Commissioner has developed a reputation of being too domineering at times, and making examples of players by levying harsh penalties that were considered league-wide by players, to be undeserved or too severe. He has the chance right now to directly change the way our defense is currently set up. CB Eric Wright, it appears, will maybe get a meeting with Goodell, but no penalties are expected due to the dismissal of charges by the L.A.P.D. for a questionable D.U.I. arrest. We here at BuccaneerTalk.com gave our opinion about how the Bucs should handle this situation at the time, and thankfully, it never came to them having to make any decisions at all once the charges were dropped. CB Aqib Talib’s dilemma is a little more complicated, and this is where we are worried that Roger Goodell could willingly force the Bucs to have to shift personell in our Defensive Backfield. Even though Talib’s charge, assault with a deadly weapon (gun), was dropped by prosecutors, there’s still a possiblity that Roger Goodell can decide that even though the case was indeed dropped, he could still levy a punishment on Talib since there was a gun involved. The Bucs appear to have (in our opinon) rightfully forgiven Talib on this matter and have moved on, but Goddell does not play around when it comes to gun play. Just ask Adam “Pacman” Jones. If Goodell decides that he will suspend Talib for being involved in this matter, it will force the Bucs to overhaul they way their Defensive Backfield is currently set up. Ronde Barber would more than likely be moved back down to Cornerback, and that would force the Bucs to start a different player at safety, presumably S Cody Grimm. The single most intriguing storyline this season will be how well Ronde Barber adjusts to moving to Safety. We here at BuccaneerTalk.com already are of the opinion that Ronde will not only do well, he’ll excel. If Roger Goodell suspends either player, Talib or Wright, it would be supremely disappointing to the Bucs, as well as all Bucs fans, to not get the chance to see Ronde Barber start the season off at Safety, with Rookie Mark Barron at the other Safety spot, while having Aqib Talib and Eric Wright at the Corner positions.
- Will the media still obsess over who will win the starting Runningback Position?