Commentary | Tampa Bay Buccaneers have bounty to spend on free agents

February 13, 2013 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to be one of the big players in free agency with a reported $30.1 million available to spend, the fifth-most in the NFL.

The figure could increase significantly when Eric Wright gets his walking papers and Quincy Black is wiped off the books for medical reasons, perhaps giving the Glazers close to $40.1 million to improve their team.

It could entice Philadelphia's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to come home. The Bucs have an eye on the Lakewood Ranch product. The former first-round draft pick has excellent coverage skills, which Tampa Bay desperately needs.

DRC prefers to stay in the City of Brotherly Love, but his dad, Stan, reminds everyone this is a business.

"Dominique wants to sign with the Eagles. They are going to put something on paper in the next few weeks and understand he is their best corner," Stan says. "He is an unrestricted free agent and doesn't want to be shortchanged. He lives in Tampa during the offseason and has a home there. Jacksonville is also very interested."

Jenkins wanted, too

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins is not getting the attention DRC has received, but the Southeast High product is among the top five free-agent cornerbacks, according to most teams.

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano coached against Jenkins when he was at USF, and the cornerback gave him fits while earning All-American honors. Schiano loves some of those college guys that either played for him or against him, and a change of scenery could be the perfect antidote for a guy who has yet to reach his strong upside.

Jenkins could be a

steal because injuries have reduced his efficiency the past two seasons. He appears to be healthy now after undergoing reconstructive shoulder surgery last year.

Edward Waters new WKU?

Edward Waters College might be turning into the new Western Kentucky for Manatee County football players now that Willie Taggart has left the Hilltoppers.

Former Southeast receiver Tre' Laws led Edward Waters in touchdown receptions last season. He may get more next season when Dyron Speight, his quarterback at Southeast, joins the Tigers.

Speight started at WKU and transferred to Lane College last year. He can play in 2013 because EWC is an NAIA school, and he has three years of eligibility. EWC is in Jacksonville.

Former Manatee High defensive back Purvis Goff will be eligible to play next season for EWC, joining Bradenton Prep grad Tarvaris Hines, who played linebacker last season.

Haynes will travel

Shedrick Haynes has no qualms about traveling to play basketball. The former Palmetto High quarterback and basketball standout played his senior year at Booker. He played at four different schools in four years of college, including State College of Florida and USF. The 6-foot-1 guard is playing professionally in Latvia for Jelgava.

Smalls to play at SCF

SCF has a Suncoast Conference game Wednesday night against St. Petersburg College in a matchup that could ultimately decide the league title and automatic berth in the state junior college tournament.

The Manatees will have to deal with SPC's Reggie Smalls, a former Bradenton Herald Player of The Year from Southeast. The guard played prep ball last season at Mount Zion before signing with SPC. He is averaging 6.6 points and 2.7 assists per game.

McPherson undecided

After backing up ageless Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo for what seems to be an eternity, Adrian McPherson is an unrestricted free agent and exploring all his options. He is ready to move to another Canadian Football League team or get an invite to an NFL camp.

The former Southeast great rejected opportunities to play for other CFL teams in hopes of replacing Calvillo, the league's iconic career passing leader. He could possibly get a shot with the Chicago Bears under new coach Marc Trestman, who was the Alouettes' head coach from 2008 through last season.

McPherson turns 30 in May, and it appears the only way Calvillo will leave the field is if he is carried off. A lot people thought his career was over two years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer, but the now 40-year-old is still going strong.

DRC celebrity game

Stan Cromartie says Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Jacoby Jones, DeSean Jackson and Anquan Boldin have committed to play in DRC's celebrity all-star basketball team, which is slated for April 6 at Southeast High. The proceeds go to the DRC Foundation, which filters the money out to underprivileged kids.

When reminded that a lot of these guys back out of these commitments, the elder Cromartie insisted Vick will not. "I spoke to Michael Vick personally and he said he wouldn't miss it," Cromartie said.

Lawlessness surfacing at Alabama football program

Reports this week of three Alabama football players mugging two students and then robbing them along with a fourth player who was charged with fraud brings back memories of Barry Switzer's powerhouse football team at Oklahoma in 1988.

It was the second arrest in two days for Alabama safety Eddie Williams, who was previously arrested for carrying a pistol without a license. Another player was also previously arrested in 2011 for possession of marijuana.

That '88 Oklahoma team included two players who were convicted of a dormitory rape and operated in a lawless environment that was perpetuated by what was called an anything goes attitude that included shootings and drug deals among players.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 21112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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