The QB Blast: Bucs Employees Get Raw DealMay 31st, 2011
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.
Today, Carlson explains why he sees no reason for Team Glazer to have sent home employees without pay.
By JEFF CARLSON
It was disturbing to read that Buccaneers employees will be forced to stay home from work without pay this week. The Bucs aren’t the first team in the NFL to announce different cost-cutting measures as the owners’ lockout continues.
But what makes this disturbing locally and around the NFL is that as far as I know the league hasn’t lost any money yet (and are still nearly 100 days out from doing so). On the contrary, NFL teams have saved a fortune this offseason.
Following the combine in February, free-agency usually kicks off in March and multi-million dollar bonuses are paid to myriad of players in signing bonuses. Jeff Faine, the oft-maligned (on this site) center was one of those a couple years back. Every team goes in at different levels (e.g. Albert Haynesworth), but every team has probably saved more than the entire cost of a week’s salary for its employees simply in signing bonuses.
Besides the bonus costs of free-agency, the process of courting free-agents is anything but free. Many players are flown in and put up in nice hotels and nice dinners are had at nice restaurants. I wouldn’t hazard a guess at this cost, but let’s just say that many “regular Joe” workers around NFL offices could pay their bills quite nicely on this line-item alone.
Right after free-agency opens, the offseason training program starts and the team starts spending wads of cash on paying its players to lift weights and run around. A number of these players (usually young guys like Gerald McCoy and Brian Price) have pretty big attendance bonuses (like $500,000 or so) worked into their contracts. I don’t have those figures, but they are available through agents or elsewhere, and that money is available to be used on employees’ salaries this week, since it didn’t go to more important things like jeweled-encrusted watches and Escalades with 22″ rims.
Besides the bonuses paid to some, everyone enjoys the daily pay for their spring sweat. The Bucs paid me $50 a day in 1990 and 1991. The Patriots paid me $100 a day in 1993. I’m guessing that offseason training pay has at least doubled from those days since minimum wage has sextupled (thought you would like me throwing in a sex reference to make my stories a little racier and exciting) since the days of minimum wage being $50,000. Aren’t football stories about sex and money incredibly exhilarating?
With the Bucs usually boasting about incredible participation rates by their players, they are saving more money this offseason than other teams. At 50 players at $200 a day, that’s $10,000 a day or $40,000 a month not flowing out of their bank accounts. In the “good-old-days” we used to eat breakfast before we came to work and paid for our own lunch after, but in these recent economic boon days for the NFL, teams have gourmet food available for both of those meals every day. While that food cost could range widely and wildly, it is a cost not expensed for the last three months by any NFL team.
OTA’s, or Official Team Activities, have been completed eliminated from the schedule and those usually add significantly to the offseason training budget because they put more players up in hotels and feed them dinner, the most expensive meal of the day or give them cash per diem.
Immediately following the draft, the race is on to sign the best rookie free-agents. Now that there are only seven rounds to the draft, more quality rookies are on the streets and can require higher signing bonuses to acquire their services. While these aren’t the multi-million dollar signing bonuses that will be paid to the likes of Adrian Clayborn when the lockout ends, they are still in the $10-25,000 range and would buy quite a bit of gasoline and groceries for the employees that never got a signing bonus like that in their lives.
From what I understand, NFL teams don’t start missing “real” money until games start dropping from the schedule, so am I missing something here? The owners are making the hoi polloi miss paychecks in May, when they won’t miss any until the middle of September. At this point, training camp is a heavy August expense that won’t have to be incurred if things continue to stall in the legal process.
It would be great to get some clarification from One Buc Place on this perplexing matter, but that will have to wait a while. Because they’re on “vacation” this week.