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Buccaneers tender Bradley McDougald, Jacquies Smith, three others

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have tendered restricted free agents Bradley McDougald and Russell Shepard, as well as exclusive rights free agents Jeremiah George, Jacquies Smith and Andrew DePaola. Shepard received right-of-first-refusal tenders worth $1.6 million for one year, while George, Smith DePaola will not be able to negotiate with other teams. They'll have to settle for minimum salaries. Update: According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, McDougald was offered a second-round tender worth $2.5 million. Seems they really want to keep him.

McDougald and Smith were both starters last year, at safety and defensive end respectively. Both players were expected to be key parts of Lovie Smith's defense, but they disappointed with their play. Smith, didn't develop into a more reliable pass rusher, though he did put up seven sacks in 11 games -- with few pressures outside of those sacks. McDougald started fifteen games, was benched for the final game of the year, and didn't do much to stand out. He wasn't bad, exactly, but like every other safety he was rather nondescript.

Both McDougald and Smith should compete for a starting job this season, and the Bucs will hope that new position coaches can help them realize their potential.

George, Shepard and DePaola are all special teams specialists. DePaola's been the team's long-snapper for two years, and should remain that. Shepard's an absolute standout on special teams, who has at times flashed some potential as a receiver, while George is a bit of a nondescript but competent special teamer who could possibly develop as a regular linebacker.

The Bucs did not extend an offer to restricted free agent Olatunji Fatunikin, who is recovering from an ACL injury. They're likely to sign the defensive end once he's recovered from that injury.