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OL Joseph Hoping to Stay with the Bucs Once Lockout Ends

Guard Davin Joseph will likely become a free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, and the 2006 first-round pick from Oklahoma hopes to remain with the Buccaneers, reports Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times.

“I’ve been here for five years and love the coaches, love the direction and love the community,” Joseph said on Tuesday from the team’s player-run workouts at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida.

“There are so many different variables that go into coming back,” Joseph said. “It’s hard when it gets down to the money, and guaranteed money and how long your contract is. That’s tough. We all know it’s a business, and that’s why we’re in a lockout now.”

A Florida native, Joseph (6-foot-3, 313) has only played a full 16-game season twice in five years, starting 67 of the 68 games and earning Pro Bowl honors following the 2008 season. Joseph finished 2010 on injured reserve (foot), but if the franchise tag sticks, and Logan Mankins stays off the market, the 27-year-old will be the premier guards on the unrestricted free agent market.

Since the Steve Hutchinson contract in 2006, top-flight guards and centers have received contracts with APYs (average per year) of around $7 million. Dallas Cowboys guard Leonard Davis, Cleveland Browns guard Eric Steinbach, St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown, New York Giants guard Chris Snee, and San Diego Chargers guard Kris Dielman fall into this category.

Retired guard Alan Faneca upped the ante in 2008 when he signed a four-year, $32 million contract ($21 million guaranteed) with the New York Jets. That $8 million APY remained last May when New Orlenas Saints guard Jahri Evans signed a seven-year, $56.7 million extension that included $19 million in guarantees, all of which was paid out in 2010.

The Buccaneers are one of the teams that will need to spend a considerable amount of money to reach a rumored salary floor, and Joseph is a solid player whose best football is ahead of him, but it would be a surprise if he establishes a new ceiling for APY or guaranteed money for guards when free agency opens.

In addition to money, Joseph would also like to see the Buccaneers show a commitment towards building on their 10-win season from 2010 by re-signing several key free agents. Linebackers Barrett Ruud and Quincy Black, defensive end Stylez G. White, offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood, and running back Cadillac Williams are are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

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