Buccaneers Franchise Antonio Bryant, Receiver Gets $9.3 Million Raise
Adam Schefter of NFL Network is reporting that the Buccaneers are expected to designate Bryant, the team's top wide receiver, as their franchise player by Thursday. That means Bryant could, if he so chooses, sign the one-year franchise tender offer and make a guaranteed salary of at least $9.9 million in 2009. It also means the Bucs don't have to worry about losing Bryant to another team.
According to Schefter, Bryant could have expected to receive contract offers from the Dolphins, Titans, 49ers and Seahawks if he had become an unrestricted free agent. But now he's staying put.
That he's now a hot commodity in free agency represents a stunning turnaround for Bryant, who sat out the entire 2007 season as a result of off-field problems, league discipline, and no team wanting him. But when the Bucs gave him a chance in 2008, he shined: He had career highs last season in catches (83), yards (1,248) and touchdowns (seven).
For the Bucs, $9.9 million is a lot of money. But the Bucs have a lot of salary cap space and can afford to keep Bryant around, and this move ensures that they will.