It’s a very difficult economic climate in which to work out big-time contract extensions (franchise quarterbacks aside; those guys always are in a special category), but it’s not impossible.
The Titans have been in talks with DE Kyle Vanden Bosch for quite a while now, and while nothing is imminent, according to league sources, the lines of communication remain open. Vanden Bosch is a vital component to that line, but Tennessee has done an incredible job of drafting and cultivating young linemen over the years and let guys like Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth walk in the past.
Nothing is imminent with Vanden Bosch regarding a new deal, but the sides have continued to discuss the possibility. Given the recent contracts to Haynesworth and Terrell Suggs, Vanden Bosch, who is making $5.3 million in the final year of his contract this year, undoubtedly would hope to get as close to $40 million guaranteed as possible.
Similarly, there is no deal imminent between the Buccaneers and LB Barrett Ruud, but the sides have been in contact for several weeks now, according to a league source. Ruud has become the heart and soul of that defense, and with the team rebuilding around young coach Raheem Morris, there is no way the Buccaneers would want to let the linebacker go. Ruud is in the final year of his deal ($1.6 million), and no doubt the $8 million-per-season average that Bart Scott received from the Jets in free agency would be a range a player of his caliber would look to reach.
The Bucs have an abundance of salary-cap space, and after taking a PR hit by cutting lose Derrick Brooks, it would be difficult to let Ruud go as well. As a 2005 draft pick (second round), however, Ruud is one of the players caught in the pinch of whether or not they will get to become unrestricted free agents; if there isn’t a CBA extension by March — and no one I know is counting on one by then at this point — then Ruud would be restricted.
Regardless, Ruud is a building block for the Bucs’ future and someone who makes sense having tied up in a long-term deal.
We’ll keep an eye on both situations.