Bucs sign fourth overall draft pick to contract

Updated: July 27, 2007, 2:17 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CELEBRATION, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's Gaines Adams agreed Thursday to a six-year deal that enabled him to report to training camp on time.

The deal maxes out at $46 million, with $18.56 million guaranteed, ESPN's John Clayton reported.

The 6-foot-5, 258-pound defensive end was the fourth pick behind JaMarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson and Joe Thomas. The Buccaneers hope Adams, a game-changing pass rusher at Clemson, will help revitalize a defense that struggled to pressure quarterbacks last season.

Adams arrived at the team hotel near Walt Disney World about three hours before the deadline for players to report for camp. The soft-spoken Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year had 12 sacks as a senior.

His deal left the team with two unsigned rookies, both second-round picks -- guard Arron Sears and safety Sabby Piscitelli.

Adams said it was important to get into camp on time to earn the respect of coaches and teammates.

"I wanted to come in on the first day, get acclimated and let them know I'm here with them," Adams said.

Agent Fletcher Smith said Adams had no qualms about negotiating a deal ahead of the first three picks in the draft.

"Sometimes waiting can hurt you," Smith said, adding he's comfortable the deal will not be surpassed by anyone selected behind Adams. "You have an idea of where you want to be. If you can't get there, then you wait."

Bucs coach Jon Gruden said he likes Adams' attitude.

"He's a guy who told us at the very beginning he wants to play," Gruden said. "For him to be at his best, he has to be here."

Although the Bucs said on draft day that Adams is expected to compete with veteran Simeon Rice for playing time at right end, it remains unclear what role he will be asked to fill as a rookie.

Adams said he's eager to do whatever is necessary to contribute.

"I just want to help any way I can," he said. "It starts with getting in here today."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.