TAMPA - Three years ago, the Bucs added one of the key components of their Super Bowl championship team by signing wide receiver Keenan McCardell during the second phase of free agency that begins June 1.
Don't look for a repeat performance this year.

When the free-agency pool is restocked, as it is every year at this time, the Bucs probably won't be taking much, if anything, out of it. They are much more likely to be among the handful of teams that will greatly add to it.

Tackle Todd Steussie, running back Charlie Garner and guard Matt Stinchcomb are among the players who might be cut by the Bucs if they can't find another way to create the cap space they'll need to sign their draft picks.

The cuts could come as soon as today. NFL rules stipulate that teams cutting players on or after June 1 can apply the cap hit that comes with a player's release to the following season.

It's the NFL's way of giving cap-strapped teams a chance to clear their rosters of overpriced commodities without adding to their cap problems. The Bucs are expected to take full advantage of that rule.

Though they have shaved about $20 million from their payroll during the past few months and are approximately $1.3 million under the league's $86 million salary cap, the Bucs lack the space to sign their draft picks.

The NFL pegs that figure at $6.037 million. That's what the Bucs will be allowed to spend on the likes of Cadillac Williams, Barrett Ruud and Alex Smith this year, so the Bucs' aim is to create about $5 million worth of space.

Cutting players is one way to do that, but it's not the only way. Teams also can restructure existing player contracts, and the Bucs again are expected to create some cap room that way.

Having already reworked deals for players such as quarterback Brian Griese, fullback Mike Alstott and running back Michael Pittman, the Bucs hope to rework the deals of some of their most notable defensive players.

Linebacker Derrick Brooks, who already has discussed and turned down a proposal to rework a contract that carries a $9 million cap figure, again might be the target of a restructure offer.

Defensive end Simeon Rice, whose contract carries a $10 million cap figure, and defensive tackle Anthony McFarland ($4 million cap figure) also might be approached, if they haven't been already.

Attempts to reach Brooks, Rice, McFarland or the agents for those players were unsuccessful Tuesday. A request to speak with Bucs general manager Bruce Allen could not be granted.

There is no mandate ordering teams to cut players on June 1, so the Bucs could take several days or even weeks to decide their approach to creating cap space.

There's no guarantee they won't remain active in free agency, either. The Bucs are believed to have some interest in signing free-agent cornerback R.W. McQuarters, and other free agents entering the pool could become targets.

One free agent whom the Bucs are expected to lose in a post-June 1 transaction is safety John Howell. Howell recently agreed to terms on a contract with the Seahawks and said he plans to sign that contract today or shortly thereafter.

I knopw it is mostly about the bucs, but it is interesting.