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CB Samuel interested in Tampa Bay


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By ANWAR S. RICHARDSON, The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 26, 2008

TAMPA - The Bucs already are courting several free agents, but Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel is ready to entice Tampa Bay.

Samuel is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 a.m. Friday and Tampa Bay is on his short list.

"Tampa Bay is a situation that makes sense," said Alonzo Shavers, Samuel's agent. "Tampa Bay is definitely worth considering. It was an organization that was in the Super Bowl not too long ago. It is an organization Asante wants to play for. It's definitely something that makes perfect sense for everybody."

Shavers expects to speak with the Bucs after Samuel officially becomes a free agent. Tampa Bay might listen to Shavers' pitch, especially considering Brian Kelly recently paid $453,000 to become a free agent, leaving Tampa Bay thin at cornerback.

Samuel, 27, would be an instant upgrade for one of the NFL's top secondaries. Since entering the league five years ago, Samuel (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) has developed into one of the top cornerbacks, evident by his recent Pro Bowl appearance.

Samuel, who has two Super Bowl rings, has started 53 of 75 regular-season games and has 232 tackles (208 solo), 22 interceptions for 224 yards in returns and three touchdowns.

The biggest number that could hinder Samuel from becoming a Buc is the nearly $8 million salary he earned last season with New England. He likely would want a contract to match or exceed what he was paid last season.

However, Shavers is optimistic an agreement can be made.

"We're not having a large pool of teams to choose from," Shavers said. "Not everybody will need him or want to pay that kind of money. It's going to be a select group and Tampa Bay is high on our short list."

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Same money from many other teams (like the Jets) would be millions less money to him (particularly the up-front/guaranteed $) since there's no state income tax in Florida. Any bonus money is given to him in the state of Florida as income = zero income tax. In NY or NJ it would approach 9%. In NYC he'd have to pay another 4% to the city. When you're talking about $25-30M in bonus money, that's a ton of cash and it's all at once. My guess is Mr.Pay-Me is interested in:

- Bucs

- Jaguars

- Dolphins

- Cowboys

- Texans

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