Update from Tampa (Griese/Garcia)
Thought I would browse the Tampa papers for an update, this is what I found...
Garcia Could End Up With Bucs In The End
By ROY CUMMINGS firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Feb 23, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS - A year ago, Jeff Garcia followed the money and wound up in Cleveland. This year he may follow his heart, which could lead him to Tampa Bay.
Garcia, who paid his own way to Tampa for an interview with Bucs coach Jon Gruden last spring, has not lost his desire to play for the Bucs, an NFL source told The Tribune on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Bucs' interest in signing the soon-to-be 35-year-old quarterback may be increasing. With negotiations aimed at re-signing Brian Griese moving slowly, the Bucs may use Garcia's interest as leverage against Griese.
It wouldn't be the first time they have played Garcia against Griese.
Earlier this offseason, the Bucs reportedly urged Griese to commit quickly to re-signing or face the possibility of being replaced, possibly by Garcia.
Garcia, who signed a four- year, $25 million contract to play for the Browns last spring, was officially released Tuesday after compiling a career-worst 76.7 passer rating in 11 games, including 10 starts.
He is free to negotiate with any club, but in the wake of his disappointing season in Cleveland, he could be leaning toward a team that runs some variation of the West Coast offense, such as the Bucs.
Garcia also has expressed interest in playing again for former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, now coach of the Lions. Detroit reportedly is seeking a veteran to push or possibly supplant Joey Harrington as the starter.
There is growing speculation around the league that the Bucs may release Griese before March 2, when he is due a $6 million roster bonus, allowing him to test the free agent market.
The Bucs are attempting to rework Griese's contract, in part because they are approximately $14 million over the projected 2005 salary cap.
Tuesday was the first day teams could release players, but the Bucs have yet to make a move. They have until March 2 to gain compliance with the cap by trimming payroll or restructuring existing contracts.