One night after wining and dining them at a local Tampa restaurant, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik agreed to terms on new contracts with unrestricted free agent offensive linemen Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood late Thursday.
"It’s official, I’m a Buccaneer,’’ Joseph tweeted on his Twitter account shortly after midnight.
The deal for Joseph is for seven years, according to NFL Network, while Trueblood’s deal is for two years, according to the NFL Network.
The agreements bring to three the number of Bucs unrestricted free agents who have agreed to terms on new contracts with the team. Linebacker Quincy Black agreed to terms on a five-year, $29 million deal on Wednesday.
The players can all sign their new contracts beginning at 6 p.m. today, but none can work out with the team until Aug. 4 according to a stipulation in the new collective bargaining agreement.
Dominik is handling free agency a little differently than most GMs. Instead of wining and dining other team's free agents, Dominik has been wining and dining his own.
On Wednesday night, Dominik gathered coach Raheem Morris and his staff, plus quarterback Josh Freeman, and took Joseph and Trueblood to dinner at 717 South in Hyde Park.
"It was a good time,'' Freeman said. "They are huge, a big part of our offense. They're veteran guys on this team."
The Bucs will start camp workouts today, including a 5:15 p.m. practice open to the public. A stipulation in the new labor agreement, however, prohibits free agent signees from working out with their teams before Aug. 4.
Before Joseph came to terms, players who reported to One Buc Place echoed their quarterback's sentiments, saying it was imperative players be brought back.
"I personally mention Davin because that's my guy,'' second-year defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "First off, he went to Oklahoma (McCoy's alma mater), and so I watched tape on him there.
"Then I went against him all last year (in practice) and going against him every day is what made me get better throughout the year. So, if I'm trying to have a big comeback year, I'm going to need him out there.''
Veteran tight end Kellen Winslow didn't stop at requesting Joseph be brought back. He said the same about a free agent the Bucs have seemingly decided against re-signing: middle linebacker Barrett Ruud.
"I think it is important to bring back Davin, and I don't know what's going on with Barrett Ruud's situation, but it would be very disappointing to see him leave,'' Winslow said.
"He's one of the key leaders on this team. I know the guys in that locker room want him back. The guys in the locker room, we love Barrett. He's a core guy, a core player here, and we would hate to see him leave.''
Ruud, reached Thursday by telephone, declined to comment on his situation. Earlier in the week, after Dominik made it sound as if Ruud was not in the team's future plans, Ruud believed the door was not shut on him yet.
Meanwhile, an Internet report Thursday said the Bucs extended an offer to the Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph, but he reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the Houston Texans.
The Bucs' projected starters at cornerback are Ronde Barber, who turned 36 in April, and Aqib Talib, who could face a league-mandated suspension for his role in an offseason shooting incident in Texas. Talib faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Dominik made clear earlier this week he believes the free agent market is for signing players with starting-caliber credentials. Joseph certainly has those.
He started all but two of the 51 games he played for the Bengals the past four seasons, recording 56 pass breakups and 14 interceptions.
Dominik also continued Thursday to work on his goal of having all eight of the team's 2011 draft picks signed before today's first workout.
Tight end Luke Stocker, a fourth-round pick from Tennessee, and safety Ahmad Black, a fifth-round pick from Florida, announced Thursday on their Twitter accounts their signings were official.
Top picks Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers signed Wednesday, Mason Foster and Daniel Hardy on Tuesday.