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Griese agrees to remain with Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2005) -- Brian Griese agreed to restructure his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, helping the team alleviate its salary-cap problems.

"There is a long-term agreement, and it will be signed in the next few days," team spokesman Jeff Kamis said.

Griese took over for Chris Simms after the second-year quarterback was injured during his first pro start. Simms had replaced Brad Johnson after the Bucs lost their first four games.

Griese started 10 games and completed an NFL-best 69.3 percent of his passes for 2,632 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also had a propensity for making game-altering mistakes, including four interceptions that were returned for TDs.

But the former Denver starter was in jeopardy of not returning because he was due a $6 million roster bonus. Redoing his contract will save the team more than $4 million under the salary cap.

It also means Johnson, who helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl two years ago, could be released this week to create another $4.5 million in cap space. General manager Bruce Allen has said the team is about $17 million over.

Although head coach Jon Gruden has said there will be open competition for the starting job in training camp, the financial commitment to Griese would seem to give him the edge over Simms, who's still regarded the club's quarterback of the future.

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