Training camp is just around the corner for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and for most of the NFL. This means that, in large, the full team will be assembling for the first time. Of course, you have your rare holdouts (See Penn, Donald) and for-the-moment unsigned rookies (McCoy, Gerald), but to generalize, the entire team will be present and accounted for as the Bucs get ready to kick off their season.
What's lacking from the Bucs is what's lacking from most NFL teams, the high priced, much ballyhooed free agent signing. Strip away your expectations and the team you root for (I'll assume it's the Bucs) and think back to February about a week after the Saints (gag) won the Super Bowl. All the talk focused on the lack of CBA for the 2010 season and how the coffers would be opened up for free agency and every player would walk away with a boatload of cash. It also raised concerns that some teams would tighten the purse strings and take spending to a comically low level for the NFL.
Then, nothing happened.
It had been rumored among players that only the true top line players would receive the money while the second and lower tier players would be forced to take less. Truth be told, there wasn't a real move in spending. Sure there were a few signings that garnered headlines, but nothing like the cash bonanza many people envisioned. More news was made in the trade market (McNabb, Boldin, Marshall to name a few). For all the fear mongering by owners and dollar signs in the eyes of players, nothing really materialized.
This holds true for the Bucs as much as any other team. There were hopes that the team would jump in head first and sign several free agent players. There were others that feared the Glazers would go all "Replacements" on us and sign Shane Falco to quarterback the team. The truth lay somewhere in the middle. Neither extreme came to fruition. This seemed to be the norm for most teams. Even the generally spend happy Washington Redskins didn't break the bank.
The results of not having a CBA in place (which meant no salary cap or floor) ended being a bigger deal for restricted free agents, and players looking for a raise that were still under contract. Now, this doesn't mean the league will continue in it's current form, but that the Armageddon scenario where Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder and Robert Kraft purchased all the available talent to form their own Miami Heat just isn't plausible at this time.
So while the Bucs are gearing up to start the 2010 season and we realize that 2010's roster doesn't have that big free agent punch, that puts us in good company with the majority of the league.