The Bucs will not resign players before CBA is signed, use RFA tender on Davin Joseph and others

Or at least, that's what his agent Ben Dogra says according to the St. Petersburg Times. That means that the Bucs will not use the franchise tag on Davin Joseph. The only other realistic candidate for that tag is Barrett Ruud, but it seems unlikely the Bucs will use the tag on the free agent middle linebacker. They cannot tender Ruud as a restricted free agent because he has accrued six seasons of service in the NFL. 

Tagging Joseph makes perfect sense for the Bucs, as they would only need to pay Davin Joseph about $3 million, well below his expected market value. It also entitles them to the right of first refusal, as well as compensation of a first- and third-round draft pick if another team succeeds in signing him. It's also a signal that the Bucs certainly want the offensive guard to remain a part of the team in the future, although Joseph himself may not be too happy about the tag. Donald Penn held out for most of the offseason last year after being hit with the same tender in an effort to force the Bucs to give him a long-term contract. The two parties eventually agreed to terms mere days before training camp started. 

However, don't place too much value on this tag: as of now the tag is meaningless, because there will be no free agency period until a new CBA is agreed upon. Moreover, it seems likely that the old rules for restricted free agency in capped years will return in that new CBA, which would make Joseph's tender invalid. The Bucs are simply insuring that if these tenders do return for players with 5 or more accrued seasons in the NFL, they've used them. While that seems unlikely at this point, the Bucs have done everything they can to use the system to their advantage, and outside of annoying Davin Joseph and his agent there's no downside to exploiting these tenders. 

Update: Mark Dominik has now said that all players with less than 6 seasons of accrued service will be tendered. This includes LB Quincy Black and OT Jeremy Trueblood. They will also not pursue new contracts for any of the expected free agents before the March 4th CBA/Free agency deadline, probably waiting for the labor situation to clear up. 

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