The Bucs signed star defensive end Simeon Rice, and you heard it here … uh, third? Fourth?
Was Simeon Rice in negotiations with the Buccaneers on Thursday, when the news of his signing broke on several outside sources? Yes. Was the deal done, as those sources reported? No.
Though most of the spirit of the deal had been agreed upon by Thursday, contracts of this length and size often take several extra days to finalize, because the language therein can be very complicated. The signing was reported by outside sources on Thursday afternoon, but when the deal was clearly still being worked over later that evening, misconceptions quickly arose.
Contrary to those reports, the Buccaneers' deal with Rice was never rejected by the league office, and concerns were not expressed over a supposed attempt to circumvent the salary cap.
Since the Buccaneers do not announce salary terms, the published reports of the first two years of the contract cannot be confirmed nor denied here. What can be made clear is that at no time did the base salaries of those two years cause the league to reject the contract. In fact, a contract cannot be rejected until it is actually signed and submitted. The Buccaneers do keep the league involved during the negotiations of deals of this magnitude, however, in order to avoid any late problems.
"In many instances in the past, we have submitted various provisions of proposed contracts to the management council for guidance in salary cap interpretation," said General Manager Rich McKay on Friday. "In this instance, despite reports to the contrary, we submitted some proposed language and eventually came to a structure that was acceptable both to us and to the player, and one with which we felt comfortable, salary cap-wise."