Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik is being so
heavily scrutinized for his off-season moves by not only the local venom spewing fish wrap scribes, but now it seems that former NFL players have taken exception with what Dominik has done this off-season to rebuild meant to say retool or reload as Dominik prefers those terms over the other more long term criteria associated with rebuilding.
Ross Tucker, a former player who played for five teams in his brief six year career, now a beat reporter for Sports Illustrated.com and a host on Sirius NFL Radio has taken Dominik to task over his approach when it concerns player acquisition’s for the 2009 season.
The Bad … Where do I start? The Bucs started the offseason by firing a proven winner and Super Bowl champion in head coach Jon Gruden, as well as a general manager in Bruce Allen who single-handedly got the team from salary-cap purgatory to an enviable financial situation — while generally fielding competitive teams in the process. Those two were replaced by a guy who has never called signals in the NFL, Raheem Morris, and an executive, Mark Dominik, whose initial financial decisions have been dubious at best. Among the duo’s first transactions was the release of all-time favorites and role models for younger players like Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn.
Dominik’s financial acumen must be called into question considering the moves he has made thus far. He gave $10.5 million in guaranteed money to wide receiver Michael Clayton, who hasn’t been a legitimate receiving threat since his rookie season. I thought this was a production-oriented business. Then he gave a contract extension totaling $20 million in guarantees to Kellen Winslow shortly after acquiring him from the Cleveland Browns. The money given to a player with known knee issues is not nearly as concerning as the fact the pact was signed even though Winslow still had two years remaining on his rookie contract. What message does that send to guys like Barrett Ruud and Donald Penn? All they’ve done for the past three seasons is everything asked of them by the organization, yet no new contract is in the offing for either one — despite Ruud having only one year remaining on his rookie deal and Penn being a restricted free agent.
But … The move to sign Derrick Ward was solid. He is a proven commodity who the Bucs didn’t need to break the bank for, and he should help whomever ends up winning the starting quarterback job. Also, the trade to get Winslow for 2nd- and 5th-round picks was fine from a draft choice compensation perspective. The problem was giving him the new deal in front of proven pewter stalwarts like Ruud and Penn.
Where should I start, first lets start at the top, firing a proven winner. Jon Gruden has a combined 57-55 record in seven seasons at the helm of the Bucs, not sure the qualifies as proven winner, but more like middle of the road, average if you ask me.
So, Bruce Allen once again, named as the master mind behind the cap surplus the team has, most of the cap money is due in large part to the LTBE Loophole that capologist Kevin Demoff brought to the attention of Allen and started using. Secondly with the cap going up $42.5 million dollars since 2005 – present and the team having a terrible track record at drafting players, not too mention the snails pace in which they pursued highly sought after prized free agents. It’s easy to have cap space without doing much of anything.
Tucker, a former palyer should know better then most, with what is luming on the horizon when it comes to the potential lockout and the new rules accosiated with an uncapped season. Then you take into consideration that both Ruud & Penn will be playing in new schemes which they might not be as effective in, not too mention it takes two to get a contract extension done. Who’s to say the Bucs have not offered extensions to both players and they are seeking greater monatery value then the team feels they are currently worth.