Numbers say Bucs right on Ruud call

In his latter days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, linebacker Barrett Ruud made it clear he wanted a long-term, high-paying contract.

A fan favorite, Ruud had a lot of support from the public. But general manager Mark Dominik wasn’t willing to pay Ruud the kind of money he wanted. After playing for the top restricted-free-agent tender ($3.268 million) in 2010, Ruud left to sign with the Tennessee Titans. He got a one-year deal worth $4 million ($2 million in base salary and $2 million in a signing bonus).

But it’s starting to look like Dominik made the right move in not paying Ruud big money. Ruud recently signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks at a relatively low price. According to contract numbers obtained by ESPN.com, Ruud will earn just $825,000 in base salary and can collect a $65,000 roster bonus. Ruud battled shoulder and groin injuries last season and appeared in only nine games for the Titans.

Yeah, the Bucs still have uncertainty at middle linebacker. They started rookie Mason Foster there last season and new coach Greg Schiano has indicated Foster may stay inside or may move outside. The Bucs are likely to add several linebackers in the draft or later in free agency.

But it’s now looking like the Bucs clearly made the right decision on Ruud, who was solid with the Bucs, but never made a lot of big plays. He’ll turn 29 in May and it appears he’s on the downside of his career. Ruud is playing for the veteran minimum in Seattle. That’s a lot less than the Bucs would be on the hook for if they had given Ruud the big deal he wanted.