DT Chris Hovan has signed a five year deal with the Bucs, with roughly $8 to $10.5 million in guaranteed money. Hovan is the primary reason the Bucs jumped from the 19th to the #1 ranked rushing defense. A largely overlooked free agent last season, Hovan could have cashed in with another team (especially one of the many teams which run the Tampa Two) this offseason.
Has anyone noticed the number of Bucs who have chosen to stay in Tampa instead of testing the free agency waters? Chris Simms, Chris Hovan, Juran Bolden (and possibly Mike Alstott) could have made more money by entering free agency and creating a bidding war for their services. While the CBA uncertainties undoubtedly motivated these guys to stay in Tampa, all of them must have wanted to stay in Tampa Bay to some degree.
When Derrick Brooks announced his willingness to restructure his contract to remain a Buc a month ago, his team mates must have noticed. It is often mentioned that a team takes their cues from their leader, and Brooks is undeniably the leader of the defense. Perhaps Brooks' decision to stay in Tampa encouraged other players to resign with the Bucs.