When free agency opens next week, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner will be a late addition to the inventory.
Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes could be, too.
Per multiple league sources, a disagreement over Tynes’ classification is expected to soon result in a ruling that either will make him a free agent or will conclude that the Buccaneers hold his rights for one more year. One source said a final decision is coming by Monday.
The controversy turns on whether Tynes should have been placed on the non-football injury/illness list or the injured reserve list when Tynes developed a MRSA infection last year. Though the Bucs paid his $840,000 salary last year, the NFI designation tolls the contract for another year. If he’d been placed on IR, he’d be a free agent.
The team and the league definitely contend he’s still under contract. The player and the NFLPA definitely disagree.
Soon, the 35-year-old Pro Bowl alternate from 2012 could be available to anyone who needs a kicker for a much lower salary than the going rate at the top of the market.
The Bucs currently have three other kickers on the roster, including 2012 franchise player Connor Barth, who missed all of 2013 with an Achilles tendon injury. So they don’t need Tynes; apparently, they’re interested in trying to trade him for a conditional 2016 seventh-round pick.
Or maybe the team and the league simply want to avoid setting a precedent that players who get MRSA aren’t eligible for injured reserve, which also would mean that the teams and the league aren’t responsible when serious infections of this kind are contracted by NFL players.