Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC South [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Financial breakdown of Ward's release

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid running back Derrick Ward $6 million last year. In return, they got 409 rushing yards.

No way you can call that a good investment, but the Bucs cut their losses when they cut Ward on Tuesday. He was signed last season with the Bucs envisioning him as a No. 1 running back. The Bucs paid Ward $3 million in bonus money up front and a $3 million base salary on top of that.

Ward never showed much of anything and the Bucs decided to move on. They’re now off the hook for the 3.25 million base salary Ward was scheduled to earn this year and he’ll never see the $7.75 million he was supposed to earn in the final two years of the four-year deal. There will be no salary-cap hit for Ward this year, but that’s only because there’s not a salary cap this year.

But the Bucs aren’t completely off the hook for what turned out to be a very bad deal. If a salary cap is in place for 2011 and the rules are anything like the old ones, the Bucs then will have to take a $1.5 million hit for pro-rated bonuses Ward got up front.