Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Important Is Barrett Ruud To The Bucs?

Pewter Report is reporting that Barrett Ruud will not hold out of training camp (who even knew he was considering it?).

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have a full training camp roster when the team reports to One Buccaneer Place on Friday, July 31. has learned that starting middle linebacker Barrett Ruud will not hold out of training camp and will report to One Buccaneer Place tomorrow. Ruud had missed all of the team's OTAs (organized team activities) due to the fact that he is looking for a contract extension, but did show up for the mandatory mini-camp in mid-June.

Ruud, who has one year left on his rookie deal and is set to earn $1.6 million in 2009, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March if the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association is renewed. If the CBA is not renewed, Ruud will only be a restricted free agent next year and will not become an unrestricted free agent until 2011.

Now I realize that Ruud has played really well since becoming a starter But just how important is he to the Bucs right now?

On the one hand I would venture to say that if he was ever going to hold out for a new contract now is the time. Having jettisoned both certain future Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks as well as the starting strong side linebacker Cato June, Ruud is the only hold over starter for new coach Raheem Morris. For a team that for over a decade now has been defined by a stifling defense, losing all three starting linebacker would seem to be an unworkable situation. Besides that, you would be losing your defensive play caller on a team with a brand spanking new defensive coordinator.

On the other hand you might say what would Coach Morris and the new staff have to lose by calling Ruud's bluff? I don't know of anyone who has lofty expectations for the Bucs this year. Besides that as a new head coach, Morris might not have wanted to appear weak by giving in to Ruud's demand. Along those lines you might have also had the perception out there by the fans that if you pay Ruud then you picked him over a guy like Brooks whom I think a lot of people are still upset about the fact that the Bucs cut him some what unceremoniously.

In the end, if I was advising Ruud, I probably would have advised him to hold out. I just think that the public would have turned on the Bucs had they allowed him to hold out especially since he has become a fan favorite. Besides that, he is in fact a fan favorite now and you see his picture all over any Bucs promotional items. I think the Bucs not paying him would be a road to far for most of their fan base. I also think that Ruud risks having a bad year this year trying to become familiar with a new system and surrounded by new starters which may bring his stock way down. And then there is always the prospect of injuries.

I guess its all moot now since he is going to report on time, but should he get injured or so called under achieve this year, it will be interesting to see what kind of contract he is offered next spring.

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