The QB Blast: Bucs Employees Get Raw Deal

May 31st, 2011

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at 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. 


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.

14 Responses to “The QB Blast: Bucs Employees Get Raw Deal”

  1. BucsnBeer Says:

    Another nice gut punch in this low-key game of hardball.

  2. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Carlson wrote: “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?”

    I don’t think they even really miss real money then. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the owners have it worked out so that they will still receive their TV money regardless of whether or not there is a season. Now, they won’t have parking, concessions or ticket sales but this would still be cash positive for the owners.

    Here’s what I don’t get. We all remember the story about the owners having $2 billion set aside as a war chest just in case the lockout were to happen, right? HOW IN THE HELL CAN THEY CLAIM THEY AREN’T MAKING MONEY WHEN THEY HAVE $2B SET ASIDE?!?!?!?! That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I mean, that’s about $60 million per team…..just set aside, in a “just in case fund.” But oh, the poor owners aren’t making any money…….what a joke

  3. Not A Rocket Surgeon Says:

    It’s posturing – in this case on the back of the back office employees…

    Not a very good PR move, to say the least.

    I’m so sick of this crap.

  4. Atrain WD40 Says:

    I love one sided articles or opinionated pieces…. The owners have pledged the money back if the season continues as planned. Also I am not a big advocate of paying people to do.. Well, nothing. There is no work for these employees to do right now and they are being allowed to use vacation pay to stay afloat right now. This is not as big a deal as people want to make it out to be.

    You guys will blast me on this one but Jeff doesnt mention all the facts just the ones he thinks will get the most desired effect against the owners. Former player looking to sway people in favor of the current players. Report all the facts not just your hyped up version of the story.

  5. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Atrain – The Bucs ticket staff, which is quite large, surely has lots of phones to pound selling group and season tickets. Same for their corporate sponsorship folks. Especially considering the Lightning reps are proabably working overtime trying capitalize on their team’s success. …So surely those folks have a lot of work to do. To say they have nothing to do is silly.

    Is this office closing necessarily the biggest deal in the world? No. But it’s pretty lame on the whole when you factor everything in. Not unique to Tampa unfortunately.

  6. Macabee Says:

    This is a well-orchestrated move around the league to give weight to the owner’s court case that the lockout is justified because they have fallen on hard times because of an unfair previous CBA. And Creamscicle, the TV money they set aside for the lockout (4bil, not 2bil) was impounded by Judge Doty and placed into escrow until a hearing on June 17 before Doty to learn whether and how much the owners will be fined in compensatory and punitive damages. The owners were originally found guilty of collusion.

  7. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Macabee that 4 bil number is ficticous! The players get 59% of that money dont forget, That is if we have an agreement. If there was a CBA negotiated then the players would get theyre share.

  8. Mauha Deeb Says:

    Geez! Everyone is so concerned about someone else’s money. Mind your own business, Jeff.

  9. Macabee Says:

    Atrain, you are referring to the 9bil in TV revenues that the players got 59% of under the old CBA. I’m referring to the court case in April where the Owners were found guilty of trying to put away 4bil of the 2011 TV revenues as a rainy-day fund in case of a lockout. On June 17, they have to go back before Judge Doty to see what awards will be made to the players for the owners not acting in good faith.

  10. Chris FWC :) Says:

    @Mauha Deeb Ummm it’s his business to mind. He’s an ex-player.

  11. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Chris How does Jeff’s being an ex-player mean the Glazer’s finances are his business? That is ridiculous. We can liken that to me running my mouth about McDonald’s financial decisions because I worked there when I was 15.

  12. Atrain WD40 Says:

    Macabee: no matter what Doty rules the NFL will apeal and have an excellent chance of reversal. This is a two way stupid game by both players and owners and as a loyal fan will be looking for new distractions if the players win theyre antitrust blackmail suit.

    The NFL is great the way it is but two way greed is killing it and for some it may be forever.

    Remember everyone why the are not negotiating right now…. It’s not the owners it’s the players who are litigating this to death. If they were willing to give even a little in a desperate economy we’d be talking about better things than this rat crap.

  13. eric Says:

    Glazers are internationally known for their altruism.

    Such a swell group of guys – give you the shirt right off their back those Glazer boys will.

    Salt of the earth.

  14. McBuc Says:

    Eric, they actually give a great deal to charity. Good to see you back though.