The Buccaneers completed day 2 of their “voluntary” 3 day veteran mini-camp yesterday and it was filled with drama and insight. First for the on the field insight.
Very quietly, the Buccaneers claimed kicker Kai Forbath off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys. Forbath was an undrafted rookie free agent last year, signed by the Cowboys but ultimately spending the season on the injured reserve list. Forbath was dealing with what was described as a “nagging quad injury” before the season ever started, and never saw the field. However, he does have some pedigree. Forbath won the Lou Groza award in 2009, an honor given to the nations top college kicker. In 101 attempts during his career at UCLA, Forbath had a connection rate of 84.2% lifetime. What makes the move so interesting is kicker Connor Barth has yet to sign off on a contract after being franchise tagged. The tag would guarantee Barth an estimated $2.65 million for the season. While Barth is expected to show once mandatory camp opens, the Bucs could have no problem letting Barth hold out if Forbath is back to full health. Barth set a Bucs record last season with a 92.9% connection rate but is 84% for his career. Though it’s understandable Barth would want some long term longevity, holding out over being paid among the elite players at your position seems a bit over dramatic for a kicker with one amazing season under his belt.
After initial reports rumoring the Bucs Aqib Talib was being shopped to other teams, it was later shot down by coach Greg Schiano during his press conference. In Schiano’s words, “There is absolutely zero thinking on our part as far as wanting to do that”. Though the rumor was talked down by Schiano, what else would his response have been? Schiano has said all the right things when it comes to Talib and seems serious about giving him a clean slate. It is a far different story for GM Mark Dominik, who has had the slate wiped clean for Talib on several occasions. All Schiano would have to do is explain how it was a management decision and out of his hands. A move which completely makes sense, allowing the Bucs to part ways with the problem child while keeping Schiano from being the bad guy. The market will clearly be wary on Talib given his impending court appearance and possible suspension from the league even if he walks. It really is a win-win situation for the team regardless of outcome. Should Talib walk and avoid suspension, the Bucs will have a talented player at the position for only $1.85 million. If he doesn’t, the Bucs have to eat that number in salary cap but are free to let him walk. In either scenario, the movement of Ronde Barber to safety and his willingness to play the position means the Bucs are most likely eyeing Morris Claiborne in the NFL Draft. They need to hedge their bets, especially if they are serious about Barber’s move to safety.
Running back Legarrette Blount backtracked a bit when asked about comments he made in reference to the team drafting Alabama running back Trent Richardson. At the Nike uniform unveiling earlier in the month, Blount stated he “would definitely not be happy with that pick.” Yesterday, Blount reportedly responded to questions on his statement by saying “It was just a comment…I’d welcome him as a teammate…I’d welcome anything that helps the team get better.” Like Schiano, Blount is obviously trying to keep things positive but no player would ever be happy to see another man encroach on his territory.
The final chapter is one which possibly stole the day. After observations that receiver Dezmon Briscoe was not in camp for the second straight day, internet rumors broke of allegations that Briscoe had cheated on his current girlfriend with his ex “baby mamma”. Briscoe is currently dating “Basketball Wives” reality star Royce Reed and after an episode which aired showing the two getting close, Briscoe’s ex-girlfriend Christina Nero Tweeted allegations that she and Briscoe had been “sexting” one another. All the drama led Briscoe to use Twitter in his own defense, which only keeps the drama alive.
Finally, things got back to football.
While this will sour some, maybe it’s a good sign. There hasn’t been this much drama from a wide we receiver since Keyshawn Johnson was a Buc and that turned out with a championship season.