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Report: Bucs, Patriots, Cardinals in lead for Sean Smith

Sean Smith predictably has generated plenty of interest during the NFL's three-day unrestricted free-agent negotiating period. The Miami Dolphins cornerback was contacted early Saturday by the Kansas City Chiefs and Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald reported "between three and five teams" had Smith on their radar.

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We now have more details.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported a trio of teams -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots -- sit as leaders in the clubhouse for Smith's services. Cole described the situation as "fluid," which goes without saying as teams weigh their needs against the ballooning market for a player such as Smith.

Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune reported Saturday that the Bucs have contacted Smith's agent, but that hasn't led to substantive talks. The Bucs have an obvious need for cornerback help after finishing with the worst passing defense in the NFL last season. Trading away Aqib Talib to the Patriots took a toll on matters, but New England hasn't made a move to keep free-agent-to-be Talib. That would explain its interest in Smith.

The Buccaneers have robust salary-cap room, but Smith feels like a player destined to be overpaid. He's an inconsistent corner who flashes brilliance, but he gave up too many big plays in 2012. Teams know the book on Smith and there's still plenty of interest, an indication of how hard it is to find quality cornerback play.

UPDATE: Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported the Patriots have, indeed, shown interest in Smith, but a source told him "no one is a favorite yet." Meanwhile, ESPN Radio's Chris Russell cited a source to report that the Washington Redskins also have engaged in discussions with Smith's camp.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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