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Salary structure key in Bucs-Revis negotiations

By Roy Cummings
Published: April 13, 2013 Updated: April 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Mark Dominik and the Bucs have been in protracted talks with the Jets over Darrelle Revis.

When Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik signed WR Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.5 million contract last year, he followed a structural design he considers unique.

Unlike many general managers, Dominik piles all of the guaranteed payouts into the first two years of his contracts because it alleviates long-term salary cap issues and allows the Bucs to quickly get out from under a deal gone bad.

Therein lies the rub for the player.

Though he'll receive a relatively fat payout up front, any player looking for long-term financial stability and job security isn't likely to get it from the Bucs. Eventually, that could hinder Tampa Bay's ability to complete a trade for New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

If the Jets ever get around to actually agreeing to trade Revis, and if Revis passes a physical — he is recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL — the next step in the process would be the negotiation of a long-term contract.

That's where Dominik almost certainly will dig in his heels and gamble that Revis and his representatives will agree to the structure he's adopted, because he's unlikely to alter it even in this case.

He certainly didn't for Jackson or G Carl Nicks a year ago, and he altered it slightly this year for S Dashon Goldson, who received a partial guarantee against injury for a portion of his 2015 payout.

But before anyone starts to worry that Dominik's contract structure, which is a big reason the Bucs have so much available salary cap space, will kill a potential Revis trade, know this:

Revis is represented by the same agents as Jackson, and neither the agents nor Jackson balked at Dominik's structure last year when they were negotiating the biggest contract of Jackson's career. Nor did they balk less than a year later when Tampa Bay asked Jackson to restructure that deal and turn $12.16 million in 2013 guarantees into a 2012 roster bonus.

It helped, of course, that the restructure allowed Jackson to save 2 percent in taxes that he would have lost had he denied the request, but you get the idea.

Revis' camp has agreed to terms on one mega-deal shaped by Dominik's unique structure, and that has the Bucs hoping they'll do it again for Revis should the opportunity arise.

The Wright stuff? If you throw in the $1.7 million he forfeited while serving a four-game suspension last season, CB Eric Wright's failure to comply with the league's performance-enhancing drug policy has so far cost him $7.95 million.

That's more than half what Wright was slated to earn in the first two years of the original contract he signed with the Bucs, who are hoping the lost wages will spur Wright to play better in 2013.

Wright, who admitted using the banned substance Adderall, recorded just 39 tackles, one interception, eight pass breakups and a fumble recovery in the 10 games he played, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.

The stat guys at determined that of 115 cornerbacks, Wright ranked 102nd in fewest yards allowed per snap in coverage (1.65) and was the 15th least efficient tackler, missing one tackle every 5.2 times he tried to make one.

QB controversy The Bucs are not as committed to Dan Orlovsky as their backup quarterback as some might think. They guaranteed only $365,000 of the new one-year, $905,000 contract he signed last week, so almost certainly they will go into the NFL draft in April looking for a possible competitor.

One to keep any eye on is Tyler Bray of Tennessee.

At 6-foot-6, Bray has elite NFL size, arm strength and throwing mechanics, but needs to add some weight and improve his footwork. Bray is projected as a late fourth-round selection. But if he slips to the fifth round, the Bucs might snatch him up.