Unchartered Waters For Rookie Dominik

February 25th, 2009
"Money? What money? Why would you think we\'ll spend our money?"

"Money? What money? Why would you think we'll spend all our money?"

So here sits Mark Dominik, the Bucs rookie general manager, on a pile of money never seen before in an NFL offseason: $55 million of available salary cap room for 2009.

Is he ready to manage it? Joe’s not so sure.

Of course, if he’s going leave $25 million of the precious cash in the Glazer family safe at One Buc Place, then he might be more than ready to do the job.

The $55 million figure, reported by Peter King of Sports Illustrated, is a marked jump from the various $35 million to $40 million cap room estimates for the Bucs tossed around by various news outlets. Goes to show you that the media can play a little loose with the facts.

Joe believes King’s numbers. He is among the league’s great veteran scribes, and he sat down with Dominik the other day and talked to him about the mountain of cash.

“To sit there and say we’re going to be major players in the big free-agent market probably is wrong,” Dominik said. “Our goal is to take care of our young, core players. The veterans here are important to our future. Then, when you get to free agency, you have to measure the cost and benefit of every player. If you put a value of $4 million a year on a player, and it goes over that, you’ve got to be disciplined about chasing the money.” But surely Dominik feels the heat from the fans and ownership about having so much cap room, and spending some of it to make sure the recent run of playoff futility ends in Tampa.

Joe’s fear here is that Dominik is overmatched, and he’s learned a little too much from Bruce Allen, who played Mr. Frugal in Tampa, possibly with orders from above. Dominik is spewing the value speech right from Allen’s playbook.

But sometimes value is determined by a team’s need, not the market, a fact Allen seemed to miss.

Dominik can talk all he wants about taking care of young core players. But until the Bucs improve greatly at the skill positions and find a pass rush, what’s the point of securing the long term future of, say, Donald Penn?

What’s frustrating and exciting for Joe is that he’s not finding any evidence that tips the hand of Dominik. What’s the plan? Win now? Win later? Try to compete every year so ticket sales don’t fall and hope for a miracle run? WIll the Bucs continue to be defined by their defense?

All the answers are coming in a matter of weeks.

3 Responses to “Unchartered Waters For Rookie Dominik”

  1. JK Says:

    Try to compete next year and hope for a miracle run. It won’t happen and the writers and fans run another decent quarterback out of town. Joe, I think you got it right when you said most of the cap money will stay in the Glazers safe. Do you think it’s Hugh Culverhouses safe he kept his valuables in?

  2. Drew Says:

    I agree with Dominik

    If we do not get Albert …..We should not spend the money just to spend it and over pay for players ….

    I think Dominik can spend what ever he wants but he will do it wisely …

  3. creast22 Says:

    The Bucs are playing with house money so they should throw some around in reason. They’re still freaking profitible big time. If teh right guy’s supposedly worth 25 million guaranteed and the Bucs can do $26.5 and grab him, the fans deserve it. Plus playoff games and asses in the seats mean lots of extra dough. I’ll drop $100 on a Haynesworth jersey