Bucs could play game of tag with kicker

With a reported $67 million in available salary cap space, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have all the room they need to take care of business this offseason.

But the franchise tag could still come into play for the Bucs if they are unable to work out a long-term contract with everyone they want.

According to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times, the club could play a game of tag with kicker Connor Barth. He will be an unrestricted free agent and the Bucs don’t want to risk losing him after he hit 26 of 28 field goals last season. By making it public they will use the tag on Barth if necessary, Tampa has let it known the team is using the tag as leverage in negotiations. The franchise tag for kickers will be about $2.65 million this coming season, per Stroud, and Barth earned $1.9 million in 2011.

"We obviously like Conner Barth a lot,'' Bucs GM Mark Dominik. "He's done a good job for us since he's been a Buccaneer. The truth is we think enough of him that he's not going to be an unrestricted free agent. We'll just figure out where that takes us from here.
"We are having discussions.''

Dominik also acknowledged what was previously reported that the Bucs are working on a deal for interior offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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