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Bucs to Franchise Antonio Bryant if Deal Can't be Struck

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...UPDATE...

It's official, the Bucs have Franchise Tagged WR Antonio Bryant. Can't wait to hear his reaction to such news. I can understand being disappointed, but any anger toward the situation would be unjustified considering the enormous bump in pay he has received based on one fantastic season.

One way or another, wide receiver Antonio Bryant will be back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the upcoming season.

The Bucs have announced if they cannot reach a deal with Bryant by Thursday's franchise deadline, they will apply the tag to the receiver. If Bryant is franchised, he will receive $9.884 million for 2009. Not a bad bump in pay if you ask me (Bryant played for somewhere around $760,000 last season).

Bucs' management has said that a long term contract doesn't necessarily have to be signed by Thursday, but progress must be made or there has to be a principle agreement.

Tampa Bay has made it very clear Bryant is one of their top priorities of the off-season and bringing him back is crucial. Hopefully a longer term deal can be reached because if Bryant acts and plays like he did in 2008, we'll want the 27-year-old around for quite some time.

A little Bryant for you to enjoy: