Bucs won't be active in free agency, again

In a development that will surprise no one who has been paying attention to the football franchise headquartered in Tampa, the Bucs won’t be major players in 2009 free agency.

Per PewterReport.com, G.M. Mark Dominik attributed the position to the reduced pool of unrestricted free agents, given the move in the minimum years of service from four to six in an uncapped year.

“I think the best way to look at it is kind of how I talked about in the
past of how we are going to do it here,” Dominik said.  “We are going to
build through the draft
.  That is our number one focus.  That is our
number one drive.  Because of that and where we are at, we have the
ability to do a lot of different things in the draft.  In that capacity
there is going to be a lot of committed cash to the draft this year.  If
you decide to move up or decide to move back and accumulate extra picks
those are also contracts.  That is a lot of money in those contracts. 
That’s not a small deal. That is the direction we are going to head

But every year teams commit cash to the draft, and they commit cash to free agency.  So that explanation will do nothing to persuade folks who believe that the team simply isn’t spending money on players that the strategy arises from anything other than a desire to not spend money on players.

Dominik provided further confirmation for those who believe the Bucs simply have decided to not spend money on players by focusing on one of the only success stories the team has realized by signing a free agent on the cheap.

“Will there be a chance to go out and try and find the Jimmy Wilkerson
of the 2010 free agency class?  Absolutely,” Dominik said.  “He was a guy that we signed
for a smaller salary.  He went under the radar.  No one in Tampa really
knew or cared that we signed Jimmy Wilkerson that day.  I think at the
end of last year people were like, ‘Hey, this Jimmy Wilkerson has
become a good football player.  Where did they get him?’  Those [signings] are just as important as stealing practice squad players or
anything you can do to improve your football team.  We are always going
to be looking for that kind of a guy.  That would be important.”

But everybody is looking for that kind of guy.  To find him, however, a team has to kiss a bunch of frogs.

Dominik also addressed the team’s critics by once again claiming that ownership has had no role in the low-spending strategy.

“Ownership has never mandated anything on the contracts that we offer
out or who we pursue and can go after,” Dominik said.  “There is a
discipline with this organization.  Who has this team lost in free
agency in recent years that has really crushed this organization?  I
don’t think there is a name that I can sit here and say.  That is not a
disrespect to any player that has been through this door, but there
hasn’t been that guy with a ‘Why didn’t they keep this guy?  What were
they thinking?’  It just hasn’t happened here.  I can’t think of one.  I
don’t see that going forward, either.”

(Antonio Bryant, you’ve just been served.)

Dominik also suggested that players eligible for restricted free agency won’t get long-term deals, justifying the decision to use the inexpensive one-year tenders for restricted free agents like left tackle Donald Penn by pointing to the “rules” of the labor deal.

We have a feeling that, at least for 2010, the Buccaneers won’t be in the minority when it comes to producing sound bites like this.  After all, every dollar saved by the owners in 2010 is one more dollar that will be available to the teams in the event of a work stoppage in 2011 — and one less dollar that the players would have been able to save.

26 responses to “Bucs won't be active in free agency, again

  1. This organization is pathetic right now. The ownership is pathetic. I have my season ticket renewal form on my desk and this article just sealed the deal for my not renewing after 24 years!

  2. So, it’s bad to spend money on the draft and not on free agents? I guess that all depends on what kind of franchise would you rather have-Colts or Redskins?
    Free agents are for teams that are a player or two away from being great. The Bucs aren’t there yet. If they went out and picked up a 27 or 28 year old free agent right now, he’d be old by the time the Bucs were good enough to contend.
    Plus, the free agent thing, in my opinion, is overrated. If a guy was so great and such an integral part of a team, that team would be stupid to let him hit free agency in the first place.
    If a 25 year old LT, Randy Moss, or Warren Sapp were on the market, I’d say go for it, but teams don’t usually let their great players test the waters.
    Build through the draft, Bucs! It may not be sexy, but it’s smart!

  3. There’s not a damn thing wrong with building through the draft and not throwing money away at other team’s garbage free agents. Exhibit A- Redskins. Every year they make a splash in free agency, trade a way half their draft picks on a bunch of over-hyped “names”, and then end up watching the Playoffs from home. Exhibit B – Steelers. Their front office takes the first two weeks of free agency off, let their garbage walk, and then continue to draft well every year, then end up winning a Superbowl every couple years. Smaller market teams ( i.e. every team except for the NFC East teams) don’t have the resources to “kiss a few frogs” every year. If you gave Florio GM duties, he’d probably turn out just like Dan Snyder.

  4. God..I feel really bad for Tampa fans..a team not even trying to be competitive..I just picture that woman in major league who wanted the team to do badly so she could relocate..You have to build through free agency as well as the draft because Everyone has some first round busts.
    You have to have players you bring in like a Pete Kendall or an Alan faneca who can teach your picks and your reaches to play professional football. The best players in any field aren’t cheap, some people just don’t care about winning and the commissioners office should penalize them.

  5. Already got rid of my tickets. The only way things will change in TB is if the fans simply stop going to the games. Then the Glazers will a) spend or b) sell. Either way will be fine with me.
    I knew we were going to be in for another long year when they decided not to spend on a coach and keep Raheem.

  6. Last year they signed Derrick Ward to a 4 year $17 million contract… does that not count or something?

  7. “Per PewterReport.com, G.M. Mark Dominik attributed the position to the reduced pool of unrestricted free agents, given the move in the minimum years of service from four to six in an uncapped year.”
    Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that the owners are broke, and in massive debt, could it?

  8. The great teams do build through the draft. Then sprinkle in some key free agents, thats how the Steelers do it, thats how the Colts do it. Is it frustrating at times yes I am a Packers fan and draft is pretty much all they do, but if done right you can set yourself up to be successful for a good a long time. 70% the time free agents don’t pan out, thats due to the fact that if they WERE any good, there prior team would probably do whatever it took to keep them. Just ask Joe Johnson, Adalius Thomas, LT, TO, or just about any Washington Redskin.

  9. Thank you, Mike. The local newspapers (along with every news outlet) seem oblivious to the $$$$$ issues Buc ownership is drowning in.

  10. Some of these teams that don’t care all that much about winning are really going to cash in on this uncapped year. They’ll probably pay out $30 million less in player salaries than they would when there was a minimum requirement. Look at all the money they’re guaranteed from revenue sharing and the fact that fans won’t be able to bail on season tickets once the season is started and they’ll be taking in as much money as ever while paying out far less. If they continued to suck over time it could effect their revenue, but a 1-2 year period could really create a windfall for these guys. I wonder what other teams besides the Bucs are looking to pay minimum wage this season?

  11. Nobody complains when teams like the Steelers or Colts don’t go out and spend huge money on free agents. It seems the Bucs are trying to change their philosophy to match that of two of the more successful franchises in the league. Build through the draft.
    Big money free agents, more often than not, don’t pan out. They usually become wasted money.

  12. # Joe in Toronto, Canada says:
    Translation: We have no money, folks.
    No, translation: We’re heading into Rams’ territory now and we’re building a war chest for the lockout. Tampa cut their 2009 salaries by $20 mil and they were 30th while KC, $83 mil, was 31st and the Rams were 32nd at $62 mil (a cut of $54 mil from 2009). Overall, salaries dropped by an average of $8 mil per team.

  13. shannscott2000 : Free agency sucks you’re right. I mean look at the Saints and who they scored in FA: Drew Brees (starting QB), Darren Sharper (starting free safety), Lance Moore(WR), Jeremy Shockey(starting tight end), Scott Shanle(starting weakside linebacker), Scott Fujita(starting strong side linebacker), Anthony Hargrove(starting defensive tackle), Jabari Greer(starting cornerback), Mike Bell(RB), Jonathan Goodwin(starting center) and Courtney Roby(kick returner and special teams ace).
    But yeah you’re right you can’t find anything useful in Free Agency…when your GM and coach sucks.
    Face it Bucs fans, your team is destined to be another cellar dweller. Cherish that Saints defeat you had late in the season because you won’t get many more of those on your resume.

  14. Give me a break with the Buc-bashing! So we had a bad year – what do you expect after the OC and DC debacles and NO QB’s!! None of the cost-cutting moves last year are even debatable :
    Galloway,Garcia,June= got minimum deals and cut midseason by their new teams
    Brooks= NFL Radio , Hilliard= looking for coaching jobs!!
    They signed Ward, top RB in FA to big $$, Crowell injured, but was sought after in FA by other teams, gave Bryant $9mil for 1 year!! Haynesworth agent said we offered more than the Skins – after the fact.
    Where is the objectiveness? How many name FA’s did your favorite team sign? The cap has increased so much recently that if you can play….your own team can afford to keep you. Bottom line.

  15. Foolsball- The Saints did hit on a few, Drew Brees is a great FA finding, and Sharper did fit well, but Sharper isn’t gonna be around for a long time. Shockey was traded for, as far as the rest of those guys I don’t think they are all that spectacular, I don’t know how many probowls those other guys made, yeah the Saints had a hell of a run, but are they gonna be able to have another one? They do have some 20 odd FAs to sign again. So while FA is good for a push I would much rather build through the draft and go for a “dynasty”.

  16. Forgot to mention = How many teams traded for an All-Pro TE and made him the highest paid TE in history? WINSLOW!!!!

  17. So let me get this straight. Now the Bucs are being ridiculed for doing things the right way? Building through the draft and retaining core players shows they DON’T want to win? No, it means they want to win every year.
    CHamp Sports:
    Obscene post, but right on the money. You know what makes a winner better than 90% of the know-nothings on here.
    THe rest of you clueless clowns (and delusional Redskin-esque fans), try and name one NFL team that has been great in the past 10 years that has been great based on their big money free agent signings…. waiting… and if you said the Saints and Drew Brees then you’re wrong. Brees was a bargain coming off an injury and only two clubs even had him in to talk contract. The truth is, winners are built through the draft.

  18. The Bucs 2002 Super Bowl team’s defense was built almost entirely through the draft. Simeon Rice may have been the only big money free agent. The offense had mostly been built through the draft prior to 2002 by Tony Dungy and Rich McKay, but it was of mediocre talent, so Jon Gruden signed a few low-price free agents (Joe Jurevicious, Keenan McCardell, Ken Dilger, Michael Pittman, etc.) to spice it up.
    I wholeheartedly agree with the Bucs that the way to build a championship is through the draft, only adding a big free agent when you’re “A player away”. My only concern is: Are the Bucs drafting well enough to get us there?

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