The use of the franchise tag will keep one potential target for the Buccaneers (Falcons CB Brent Grimes) from hitting the open market, but sources still expect that signing a starting cornerback will be one of the Bucs' priorities in free agency.
Tampa Bay will have the salary-cap flexibility to outbid teams for a player's services, and GM Mark Dominik already has signaled that the club is prepared to spend.
The team is also still open to re-signing veteran CB Ronde Barber, but the soon-to-be 37-year-old likely would return on only a one-year deal if he decides to continue his career with the Bucs. Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano would like to have a player that they can count on to be a long-term answer at the position in the fold. The starting corner opposite Barber for the past three seasons, Aqib Talib, is going to trial this month for a felony assault charge stemming from a March 2011 incident. He's due in court March 26, but Schiano has indicated that Talib is in the team's plans for 2012.
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