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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs pick up one year contract options on Tackle Dotson, Safety Conte

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers expect to be busy in free agency coming up next week. And, in preparation for that, they’ve started making decisions on some of their potential free agents.

We wrote last week that the team will not pick up the 2018 contract option on former starting center Joe Hawley, who will possibly retire. That saves the club $2.5 million. They earlier released RB Doug Martin and also, DT Chris Baker, but they both have “dead money” under the salary cap for this year.

Tuesday morning, the Bucs announced that they did pick up the 2018 option for two veterans, offensive tackle Demar Dotson and safety Chris Conte.

Dotson, who started 11 games a year ago at right tackle before suffering a season ending knee injury, is scheduled to make $4.6 million in 2018. The former un-drafted free agent is the longest tenured current Buccaneer, as he will enter his 10th season with the club in 2018. He has 76 career starts in 100 games.

Conte was signed as free agent by the Bucs in 2014, by his former Chicago coach Lovie Smith. He’s been a frequent target of criticism from Bucs fans for not making enough impact plays throughout his time in Tampa Bay. He’s started 38 games in three seasons, including 14 a year ago, and had 76 tackles with three forced fumbles and an INT. He’s now slated to make $2.5 million this year.

The Bucs also decided to exercise the one year option on reserve safety/special teams ace, Josh Robinson, before he was allowed to test free agency. A year ago at this time, the Buccaneers lost WR/special teams star Russell Shepherd to the division rival Panthers in free agency.

The Bucs may not be done re-tooling their offensive line, as there as been speculation that last year’s starting guards J.R. Sweezy and Kevin Pamphile could both be gone, as well. Tampa Bay does have two young linemen in center Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith and obviously, wanted a veteran in Dotson to be kept with them.

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