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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
What are Bucs thinking at kicker?

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

When the Buccaneers signed free agent Mike Nugent earlier in the offseason, I was confused about what Tampa Bay's plans were for its kicking situation.

 Bryant
 Nugent

The salary numbers on Nugent didn't come out right away, but I just got hold of them and I'm more confused than before.

The Bucs already had one of the league's most dependable kickers in Matt Bryant, but it turns out they signed Nugent to a pretty significant contract. Nugent signed a one-year deal that includes a $2 million base salary and a $400,000 roster bonus. That's substantial money for a kicker.

Bryant has two years remaining on his contract and is scheduled to earn $1.1 million in each of those seasons. Usually, when you bring in a new player, it's to dump the old player and save some salary-cap money.

But that wouldn't be the case here. If the Bucs cut Bryant, they would only free up about $30,000 in cap space. If Nugent doesn't make the team, the Bucs would be on the hook for his signing bonus, but they wouldn't have to pay the base salary.

Maybe the Bucs just want to take both kickers to camp and let them battle it out. But, usually, there's an agenda behind this kind of thing.