Bucs Are Not Cheap; They Are “Smart”

January 28th, 2010

This is a frustrating time to be a Bucs fan.

With all the hoopla of the NFL postseason nearing its annual height with the Super Bowl just over a week away, Bucs fans still vividly remember the heady days when the Pewter Pirates ruled the NFL with a bruising, suffocating defense.

In a sense, Bucs fans have been spoiled, which may partially explain why there was — and is — so much venom over Raheem the Dream and his three wins last season.

Earlier this week, when general manager Mark Dominik traveled to Mobile, Ala. to give a State of the Bucs address to the Tampa Bay media and reiterated the Bucs were going to build from the draft and fans should not get their hopes up for free-agents, anger from Bucs fans bubbled back to the surface.

Since the Great GOB, Chris Thomas, passed nearly six years ago, Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune has taken the baton of the voice of reason within the local sports media community. He is of the belief that Dominik (and to a lesser degree, Bryan and Joel) is being smart, rather than foolish, in building through the draft and not being smitten with the allure of big-monied free agents.

So no, it’s not a matter of being cheap.

It’s a matter of being smart.

We all know the needs of this team, particularly on defense. If they stay at No. 3 in the first round and take Tennessee safety Eric Berry, he could make an instant impact. If St. Louis decides to go for a quarterback at No. 1, the Bucs could land premier defensive tackle Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma.

But that’s just the start. What happens with the picks that follow will define the draft for the Bucs, along with how quickly they can return to contention.

Joe is of the mind the Bucs’ new allergy to free agents isn’t so much due to lack of funds, but more so the elephant in the room, the looming 2011 labor stoppage. No one has an idea of what to expect when (or if) a new labor agreement with the NFLPA is reached. It’s uncharted waters the NFL is entering.

So it’s actually prudent for NFL owners to be cautious with their purse strings until a new contract is signed with the NFLPA.

Frustrating, but prudent.

32 Responses to “Bucs Are Not Cheap; They Are “Smart””

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Do you REALLY think that the players will strike in 2011? They’d have to be fools to pass up a year of salary for what?

    As for the owners – those greedy bastards will call the players bluff but I seriously doubt that the whole year will be lost.

    My prediction is that pre-season will be cancelled and the 1st 1 or 2 games before the familiar call of play ball rings loud and true as the players will fold their cards and really gain nothing in the long run.

  2. Joe Says:

    Do you REALLY think that the players will strike in 2011?

    When you see what the NFL owners are demanding, in a word, “yes.”

  3. Louie Says:

    Since 2005 the Bucs have been spending less and less. Joe, are you saying the Glazerhouse’s have been planning that whole time for a possible work stoppage in 2011? They’re going to look really stupid if a CBA is approved.

    A second point, assuming a team wanted to build a winning team exclusively via the draft, it would take at least 3+ years (11 offense + 11 defense @7 picks per draft) to do it assuming EVERY ONE of your draft picks became starters. That doesn’t happen. Undrafted free agents don’t typically become starters, so you can’t count those. Realistically, it will take at least 5-6 years to build a team that way because you’ll never hit on every draft pick. Taking it a step further, the longevity of the average NFL player is about 5 years in the league, so by the time the 5th or 6th year rolls around, some of those guys you drafted in year 1 will be gone.

    So, how is it really smart and prudent to build a team that way?

  4. Joe Says:

    Joe, are you saying the Glazerhouse’s have been planning that whole time for a possible work stoppage in 2011?

    Yes and no. Joe does believe the past two years the Bucs have been preparing — not planning — for a work stoppage. The Bucs are hardly the only team bracing for a lockout/strike.

    Realistically, it will take at least 5-6 years to build a team that way because you’ll never hit on every draft pick. Taking it a step further, the longevity of the average NFL player is about 5 years in the league, so by the time the 5th or 6th year rolls around, some of those guys you drafted in year 1 will be gone.

    So, how is it really smart and prudent to build a team that way?

    Dan Rooney begs to differ.

    Look, Joe doesn’t like this any more than any Bucs fan. But if Bucs fans don’t believe the Glazers — and other NFL teams — are not sitting on their hands until the owners and players reach a collective bargaining agreement, well, they are being naive.

    Joe is suggesting it’s “smart and prudient” to wait until a collective bargaining agreement is in place.

  5. JDouble Says:

    I am not a fan that hates on the Glazers. I think the Glazers are billionaires for a reason. They are not stupid. They do care about this franchise and are going to do whatever they think best to rebuild it right and make it strong.

    As far as the 2011 work stoppage being a reason to not signing FAs….I don’t see it. If there was a work stoppage, owners don’t pay players. So what is the thinking behind that idea? \

    I think it’s more along the lines of rebuilding thru the draft is the way to go. Free Agency is for teams that are one or two players away from being a great team and are willing to over pay in an auction type atmospere. That really makes no sense for us right now. With the uncapped year rule changes, all the free agents are around 28-30 years old anyways, which makes even less sense for us.

    I know 90% of Bucs fans will say screw logic and patience…..and continue with the “Glazers suck, Glazers are cheap!” rant, but I;m not buying into it. The Glazers don’t decide who we draft, and let’s be honest, our horrible drafting is why we are where we are today.

  6. Joe Says:


    If there was a work stoppage, owners don’t pay players. So what is the thinking behind that idea?

    Well, first, it’s hard to justify a mega-signing bonus to a player if you know the guy (likely) won’t be playing after the first year of the contact for who knows how long.

    Second, the owners have no clue what kind of revenue they will have after 2011. So it’s kind of difficult to sign a guy to a multiyear contract if you don’t know what kind of revenue stream there will be after the player’s first year of his contact.

  7. Louie Says:

    Well, that “preparing” has resulted in one of the worst teams in the league. Such preparation by the other teams hasn’t resulted in such a monumental collapse.

  8. JDouble Says:

    Let’s look at our 1st round picks since 97′ That’s 12 seasons ago and where most of our cap room should be going…right?

    1997 We draft WR Riedel Anthony. Bust
    1998 No first round pick
    1999 We draft Anthony McFarland. He played decent for 8 years and is now out of football.
    2000 No first round pick
    2001 We draft Kenyetta Walker. Bust
    2002 No first round pick.
    2003 No first round pick.
    2004 We draft Skillet Hands Clayton. Bust….and some how is still getting paid.
    2005 We draft Caddilac Williams. Say what you will about his great story, I say bust. How could you not?
    2006 We draft Davin Joseph. WooHoo! We got a good one!
    2007 We draft Gaines Adams. Bust. R.I.P.
    2008 We draft Aqib Talib. Kinda early. He looks like he could be great, but has some real problems. Could be great or the next PacMan Jones.
    2009 We draft a franchise QB in Josh Freeman. I love this kid and have high hopes, but it’s to early to say.

    So. From the last twelve years of first round picks, we have Davin Joseph. Possibly Talib and Freeman. Hmmm…wonder why our payroll is so low? Must be because the Glazers don’t care and are cheap.

  9. Louie Says:

    JDouble, thank you for making my point. The Bucs have not drafted well and now all of a suddent they expect to draft well with virtually the same scouting department that they’ve had all along? You can’t even say last year’s draft was good. None of those guys came in and started from day 1. Some of those guys look real promising, but only time will tell. After year 1, everyone thought Clayton was the real deal and look how that worked out.

  10. B From O-Town Says:

    So fiscally speaking it makes sense and building the core talent from the the draft makes sense… only problem is, the PEOPLE RUNNING THE DRAFT. Hello! The Detroit Lions have been building from the draft for 20+ years.

    If we had a REAL GM and a REAL NFL Head Coach flanked by REAL scouting department that logic would make sense. REAL = top 32 minds per job title in the league… our GM and HC are NOT in the top 32. That’s the problem. We have to watch young fools learn on the job while having the keys to a multi million dollar NFL franchise… that wasn’t the worst franchise in the league. Now, we are at the bottom hanging with KC and St Louis. Coaches are jumping ship, the Bucs somehow think that they can replace coaches organically… the model isn’t successful.

    That’s the elephant in the room. The people running the team are unqualified for their positions. Afterall, there are ONLY 32 NFL franchises… is this the best the Glazer’s could come up with after claiming the reason for firing Gruden was because we have higher expectations for the post season??? LOL!!!!!

  11. Al Says:

    I really think we will have a winning season next year if there are no major shakeups in the staff.

  12. dylan Says:

    Jdouble all u do is talk bad about the bucs dont be a fan lmao, go post there 2nd and 3rd round picks please and show some steals we got biggest one… tanard jackson.. and at 3 we need berry period.

  13. JDouble Says:


    Are you 7 years old? I can almost understand what your trying to say. Basic English man, look into it.

  14. JDouble Says:

    We have found some gems in the later rounds and thru free agency…that is not the point. Great teams don’t have rosters full of hidden gems. Your only as good as your first round picks. That’s how the NFL is set up.

  15. B From O-Town Says:

    “Your only as good as your first round picks.”

    I say your only as solid as your first 3 rounds of picks, while ALSO needing to get lucky on some late rounders.

    The first 3 rounds are the rounds you can’t miss with.

  16. D-money Says:

    “Great teams don’t have rosters full of hidden gems. Your only as good as your first round pick.”

    I disagree. You only have one 1st round pick each year and 6 picks after that. If you dont hit on at least 3 or 4 of those six consistantly you aren’t going to be very good. Great teams are great because they have depth. I dont care if every starter is a first round pick if you dont have good guys behind them you aren’t going to get very far.

    As far as the 1st round picks I see Jdouble stopped at 12 years because 13 and 14 would have included some pretty good picks and lets be honest I doubt that anyone involved with thie current team had much of a say in who was drafted that long ago. So to have a fair discussion about the current people making the calls lets look at the last 5 years…

    Caddy, Joseph, Adams,Talib, Freeman

    Cadillacs injuries are not the fault of the people that drafted him.
    So really I’d say aside from Gaines Adams (who Dominik was able to get a 2nd round pick for) the last few years have been pretty positive. That coupled with some good finds in the later rounds its a definate move in the right direction.

  17. JDouble Says:

    Caddie was injury prone even though he split RB duties with Ronnie Brown in college. How do you figure “Cadillacs injuries are not the fault of the people that drafted him.” ?

    1st round picks are the big dogs. They are the guys that are expected to be your probowlers, your team leaders. They are also the ones that get big ass contracts. So, when 90% of your first round picks are busts, not only does your team lack elite talent, but your stuck paying shitty players. That’s why your only as good as your first round picks.

    I’m not saying 2nd, 3rd, and later rounds aren’t important. Finding starters there is very important as well. When you miss on a 2nd. 3rd, or later round guy, it just doesn’t set your team back like a first round bust.

  18. OAR Says:

    D-money, Just cause you mentioned them,
    93 – Eric Curry – Bust
    94 – Trent Dilfer – eh
    95 – Sapp and Brooks – The BEST draft for Bucs EVER!
    96 – Reagan Upshaw and Marcus Jones – average picks

    As for our scouting, Dennis Hickey, our Director of College Scouting last 5 years, is in his 14th season scouting for the Bucs. That puts his hire at 1996.

  19. Eric S Says:

    I think the Bucs have been cheap. All the reports out there have stated that they’ve spent the least amount of money the last few years. Those are concrete facts. All of the playoff teams have relied on free agent pickups one way or the other. Even the Colts who do a great job in the draft. 2 of their starting DL are free agent pickups. The D has been much better this season helped out by those 2 guys. I actually think it is their best D that Manning has ever had. It also helps that they got rid of Ron Meeks as the DC.

    The draft is vitally important. Everyone is aware of that. As a longtime Bucs fan, the dead zone of early/mid 80s to the mid 90s were littered with horrible drafts that cost the team dearly. They traded away valuable high draft picks to get Jack Thompson and Booker Reese?! Eric Curry, Keith McCants, Charles McCrae, Ron Holmes were all high draft picks that didn’t pan out. And Bo Jackson not signing here really killed the team. Several bad drafts in a row can cripple a franchise. Hopefully we can keep building the team. But as I’ve said a million times, you can’t just rely on the draft. No one does.

    Cadillac may not have lived up to his draft status, but I would hardly call him a bust. Ki-Jana Carter, Blair Thomas, Darren McFadden, Curtin Enis, Brent Fullwood would fall under the high pick bust status at RB. McFadden can still save his career, but the others can’t.

  20. D-money Says:

    So i guess you are saying that Dennis Hickey has had the final say on every draft pick for the last 14 seasons? Not likely. As a scout all they can do is report what they see. Its up to the head coach and the GM to use that information how they see fit. You just said yourself he has been director of college scouting for the last 5 years so lets judge the last 5 years while he was in charge of scouting. Like I said I doubt that before that anyone of thes guys had any say in the final picks. I’m sure they had input but I doubt if Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden were letting them make the picks for them.

    I dont think they’ve had any really historic picks in the last 5 or so years but I also don’t think they have had a really bad one aside from Gaines Adams.(RIP)


    I wasn’t aware of Caddy having any serious injury problems in college. If so thats my bad. But I dont think two consecutive patela tendon injuries would be something that anyone could have imagined.

    And also you left out Warrick Dunn in 97 but i guess that wouldn’t help you make your point.

  21. Louie Says:

    Don’t discard the Glazers input on the draft — especially the 1st round pick. It was reported earlier this year (by PR on 11/2/09) that the Glazers, Hickley and Monte were high on Gaines Adams and Gruden/Allen wanted to trade up for Calvin Johnson. A lot of people are quick to blame Gruden/Allen for the poor drafts, but there are other contributors — including the Glazers.

  22. OAR Says:

    D-money, No, Im not saying Hickey had the final say! Where the heck did I say that? I brought him up cause you doubted the scouting was still on the team back then and the fact he has been a constant. Meaning he was here through Dungy/McKay.
    And yes, I know the scouting doesnt have a final say in the picks, but if they give a GM and a head coach a list of crappy players then probablly the pick will end up being a crappy one. So if you dont think they have any word or some effect on who gets drafted, then why do they even have scouts?
    And don’t twist this into, oh so now your saying our scouting has been doing thier job? No, not what I said or meant, figure it out.

    BTW I find it intersting that 95, 96, and 97 we had 2 first round picks each year. Something that never happened with Gruden/Allen.

  23. OAR Says:

    Louie, Very true. A lot more contributors than people realize, I think.

  24. OAR Says:

    Sorry, “And don’t twist this into, oh so now your saying our scouting HASN’T been doing thier job?”

  25. Eric S Says:

    Cadillac was injured his first 2 seasons in college. Neither injury was to the knee. He played every game in his junior and senior season. So he did show he could be healthy for a whole season. His injuries in the pros probably would have happened to anyone. I don’t attribute them to him being injury prone. More like bad luck.

  26. B From O-Town Says:

    Other than Sam Wyche’s draft of Sapp and Brooks, the Bucs have been aweful to average drafters… not to mention a lot of our 1st rounders being traded away… of course, in the end, those 1st round trades at least netted us a Super Bowl.

    We need to gain more picks… maybe even trade up for more picks if possible… I doubt Eric Berry can cover NFL WRs for more than 5 seconds anyway… our D-Line is what needs an upgrade… I’d rather have another Tanard Jackson type 3rd or 4th rounder and a top D-Lineman than just Berry

  27. RastaMon Says:

    yeah the GBoyz are smart….and the Buc Fans are paying the price of watching a crappy product…..the GBoyz will come out on top again and so will the Bucaneer football franchise….meanwhile it is a community Mile Long Shit Sandwich ! ….mandatory seconds and that is just for the upcoming year….
    so all else follows

  28. d-money Says:

    “I brought him up cause you doubted the scouting was still on the team back then”

    What I said was I doubt they had much of a say in things back then. I know that some of the guys have been here for a while. But that doesnt mean they were responsible for the draft picks when Sam Wyche was the coach that’s just ridiculous to think.

    For crying out loud you even brought up Eric Curry and Trent Dilfer. The Glazers didn’t even own the team when those guys were drafted.

    I was just trying to make the point that we can’t sit here and blame the current management for picks that were made 12 or 13 years ago.

  29. Jimmy Says:

    Oh, but his holiness Father Dungy built the Bucs through the draft!


  30. OAR Says:

    D-money, No, I don’t think the scouts we have now were responsible for the Wyshe picks, but the ones that were there then had an effect on his decision. I’m not saying the scouts are RESPONSILBE for the picks, but they are a factor whether small or large? To not think they don’t have any part or say is ridiculous.
    As for Curry and Trent Dilfer well they were Wyche picks too. Get my point. You can have good drafts and bad. Ie; Sapp and Brooks or Dilfer and Curry. Shoot throw in Chris Chandler in there too(Wyches first trade/pick). SCOUTING! You have to have it.

  31. Eric Says:

    All I know is that the talent level on the team has fallen as compared to the other NFC South teams…………….Saints are way ahead, Falcons too, Panthers not so much. Were not getting playmakers at all. Gotta change or were sucking hind tity for a long stretch.

  32. Chris Says:

    Would the Bucs splurge on Wilfork if he isn’t franchised by the Pats?

    Since the news broke I’ve been salivating over him, but now I’m hearing he’d definitely be open to playing for Tampa. We offered Haynesworth 100 mil. So lets say we’re able to sign Wilfork. We get out big time D tackle.

    We then can take Eric Berry at 3 with no reservations. (Possibly trade down and pick up an extra pick)

    Then we can eitehr draft a wr and de end in the 2nd or trade both 2nds for Marshall.

    I know we want to build through the draft and pipe dream or not but bringing in Marshall, Berry, And Wilfork would fix the bucs in one off season.