With the inconsistent Bucs recently becoming consistently bad, a question has surfaced regarding whether the team can sever ties with coach Raheem Morris after the season, with no buyout or other financial penalty.
The folks at JoeBucsFan.com suggested last week that the Glazer family can opt out of the deal after 2011, notwithstanding widespread reports that the Glazers exercised a two-year option on Morris after the 2010 season. The subject came up during my weekly Tuesday visit with Steve Duemig of WDAE in Tampa, and Duemig seemed to suggest that he’s also heard talk of a post-2011 opt out.
A source with knowledge of the situation has since advised PFT that Morris is under contract through 2012. (Duemig has since been told the same thing, possibly by the same source.)
It’s impossible to know the complete truth without reviewing the precise language of the deal. But even if Morris remains under contract through the end of next season, the Bucs have a significant decision to make once the current season ends.
The team has three options: (1) extend the contract; (2) buy out the final season and move on; or (3) let Morris operate as a lame duck in 2012.
It’s unusual for a team to have a lame-duck coach, but not unprecedented. Still, it appears that Morris currently isn’t a lame duck.
The future likely will depend on the outcome of the next seven games. Through the first nine, the Bucs have played plenty of good teams, including five in a row that currently have six or more wins.
Maybe that will be enough to get Morris a new contract, or at a minimum a chance to coach out his current deal. Either way, the Bucs face a fairly big decision in fewer than two months.
UPDATE 8:20 p.m. ET: The site to which JoeBucsFan.com refers in support of the suggestion that the Bucs can fire Morris without a buyout after the season has corrected its report, acknowledging that Morris is signed through 2012.