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Kelly To Become Free Agent

                      Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brian Kelly 

One of the stalwarts of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary is looking to test the free agency waters; cornerback Brian Kelly said that he plans to become a free agent.  Although Kelly is scheduled to earn $3.2 million in 2008, he said that he plans to “buy back” the final year of his current contract by exercising a $480,000 option in the second week of March.

I am not certain that what Kelly has in mind will be successful for him; one reason for starters is his injury history.  The past 2 seasons, he has been hurt; he played in only 2 games in 2006 and missed 4 others before being placed on injured reserve with a “degenerative turf-toe” injury.  In 2007, he strained his groin in the season opener; he returned 2 weeks later – only to reinjure the groin again.  2 weeks later, he played against Indianapolis, but would miss the next 3 games.

Secondly is the amount of money he makes.  I cannot see any team meeting or exceeding what he currently is earning with the Bucs; we’re talking about a 32 year old cornerback who, while he still has skills, isn’t quite the same player that he was as recently as 3 years ago – before the injury bug bit him hard. 

Whether it is a case of an inflated sense of self-worth or simply some bad advice from his agent, Kelly would best be served revisiting this issue and reconsidering because no team is going to pay what the Bucs are giving him right now.  Assuming that Kelly proceeds, then the Bucs will probably have to address the CB position at this year’s draft.

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