With the linebacker of the future secured in third-round pick Mason Foster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned their sights to veteran linebacker Quincy Black Wednesday night, signing the 27-year-old to a five-year, $29 million deal.
Sounds a lot like the deal Barrett Ruud was looking for.
And according to Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times, a deal Ruud won’t get.
BTW, this morning I expressed a little doubt about #Bucs stance on Ruud. Conversations w/sources 2day have clarified things. He's gone.
Ruud notched 118 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2010, but it was his leadership and intelligence the Buccaneers truly valued. As they move forward, they’ll likely look for those same qualities in Foster.
So the Buccaneers' linebacking corps is taking shape. Foster and Tyrone McKenzie will likely be in rotation at middle linebacker, although both can play all three linebacker positions, Geno Hayes returns after a solid 2010 in which he tallied 82 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.
Adam Hayward is still a free agent, but he could be re-signed for the simple fact that he will come cheap and he will provide depth.
Black was on pace to have a career year in 2010 before he was sidelined with a broken forearm. He tallied 61 tackles and a pair of sacks to go with an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in just 11 games. The Buccaneers obviously have faith that he and Hayes, 23, can provide veteran leadership in grooming Foster as he grows into the defensive captain of the future.
The Buccaneers still have some money to spend in free agency to reach the salary cap minimum, but devoting some of that to guard Davin Joseph is top priority before they hit the open market.
But it's becoming more clear that Barrett Ruud has likely punched his last time card in Tampa Bay.