Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Brian Kelly (B.K.) will "buy back" the final year of his contract by exercising a $480,000 option in the second week of March in order to become a Free Agent and to test the market reports St. Pete Times writer Rick Stroud. Brian Kelly confirmed his intentions via text message:
This is fairly shocking news to be honest. I realize he hasnt always seen eye-to-eye with the organization and the way it compensates him, but at 32 years of age, he figures this is the time to bank one last time? Coming off two injury riddled seasons? In the year before last he played in TWO Games. This season he missed SIX Games. By opting to enter the Free Agent market, it definitely doesn't rule out a return to the Bucs, but Allen typically likes to sign older washed up players and Kelly clearly has some fuel left in the tank, so it might be time to say goodbye to B.K. and to wish him the very best!!
By the way, does it make anyone else smile, when reading that B.K. confirmed his intentions via "Text Message"? Now thats funny...
Here's a small look at the Elite Cornerbacks in the coming NFL Draft:
Antoine Cason Arizona 6'1 192lbs - Cason is a big, physical cornerback who can keep pace with vertical threats and big possession guys. Closes on opponents extremely fast and has good hands to make plays. Supports well against the run and is a good tackler for a cornerback. Could probably also make it as a safety. Will struggle some with shiftier receivers when they change direction.
Mike Jenkins South Florida 6'0 200lbs - A cover corner who can play physical. Long limbed, but not skinny. Well built. Good speed and awareness. Is best in man coverage. Can turn and run with top receivers. Has loose hips and is fluid in movements. Is an able tackler. Is not afraid of contact. Drops into a zone well. Climbing the draft boards quickly.
Leodis McKelvin Troy 5'11 187lbs - Exciting player who also doubles as a return man, McKelvin has great speed and vision in the open field. Dangerous any time he has the ball in his hands. Very lean and lanky. Can get too high in his back pedal, but this seemed to be inconsistent on film. Plays too loose at times. Baits the quarterback and then makes up with his speed. Must become more disciplined, but has the raw talent and athleticism to succeed.
Tracy Porter Indiana 5'11 185lbs - Athletic and fast cornerback who has the ability to shutdown any receiver he covers. Excels in man-to-man because he can keep up with any receiver and gets in good position. Has all the tools wanted in a cornerback. Slightly undersized. Needs to add some bulk because his tackling skills are limited and he's a non-factor against the run. Needs to become more competitive.
DeJuan Tribble Boston College 5'9 190lbs - Compactly built corner whose speed may be suspect. Gambles too much. Not much of tackler. His best asset is mirroring receivers as they try to lose him on breaks in routes. Possesses excellent ball skills. Added value as a return man.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Tennessee State 6'2 175lbs - Very raw corner with good athleticism. Lanky and skinny. Not very physical. Good in zone coverage. Plays the ball well. Causes turnovers. Will track the ball over his shoulder. Good instincts. Naturally athletic. Must work on technique and fundamentals.
Terrell Thomas Southern California 6'1 200lbs - Solid corner who lacks great speed or athleticism, which could hurt him at the next level. A quality zone coverage guy who could stick with a cover-2 team. Won't test well. Has had some serious injuries throughout his career which may scare some teams off. A playmaker when the ball is in the air.
Zackary Bowman Nebraska 6'2 200lbs - Has been plagued with injuries throughout his career. Almost entered the 2007 NFL Draft. A good cover corner with the size and speed to shut down one side of the field. Raw in his technique, but is athletic enough to overcome fundamental flaws.
Simeon Castille Alabama 6'1 189lbs - Could also play safety. Doesn't have cornerback speed. Productive, gets a lot of turnovers. Good size, long arms. Good instincts. No burst or top-end speed. Smart player who reads and reacts fast. Might be best at safety where he is not asked to cover man-to-man.
Trae Williams South Florida 5'10 185lbs - The smaller, faster corner of the South Florida pair. His nose for the ball notched him 13 interceptions during his junior and senior years. Williams could be a riser in the offseason because of his excellent athleticism. Plays stout man coverage. Good knowledge of the offensive game, and likes to come up and support the run.
You might be saying, "But JScott, there's NO WAY a Rookie is going to step in and carry the load B.K. did" in case you were thinking that, here's the Top Free Agent Cornerbacks this off-season:
Brian Kelly former Buc - Really no explanation needed, "If you don't know him by now, you will never ever ever know him, ewww ewwww" - let me stop
Asante Samuel former Patriot - Samuel is quickly becoming known as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, having posted a league-best ten interceptions last season. He has followed it up with six interceptions this season, and while his interception totals have been impressive, so has his ability to stick to receivers on a regular basis. He's shutdown quality receivers, helping the Patriots to an undefeated record through so far. If Samuel is not signed to an extension, he'll command big dollars on the market.
Domonique Foxworth former Bronco - Foxworth is used mainly as a nickel defender, and while fast, he doesn't always make the best play on the ball. He's just 24, so experience and playing time should help his development. If another team thinks he can be a top two cornerback, he may seek to leave Denver to take on that bigger role. His RFA status will make it difficult to pull him away from the Broncos, but the cornerback position is one of great significance in the modern NFL, so there's a chance.
Marcus Trufant former Seahawk - Trufant's contract has voided based on playing time and given the team's commitment to other players at his position, it appears that the cornerback will be looking for a starting position elsewhere. His 2004 season was easily his best, when he compiled 96 total tackles, five interceptions, and a sack. He was unable to match that type of production until this season, in which he has 77 total tackles and seven interceptions. He will be one of the top defensive targets on the market.