Subpar Bucs Pass Rush Just Got Worse

March 15th, 2013

It is 2:25 a.m. as Joe is typing this post on an otherwise quiet, peaceful time in the small hours of Friday morning. Joe has had but two beers, and has spent the better part of Thursday evening trying to clear his head.

On an under-performing defensive pass rush, sans Gerald McCoy, the Bucs let loose their most effective pass rusher (who was also damned good against the run) over a paltry $5 million despite having over $20 million in Team Glazer currency to play with.

Joe went and saw “Emperor” last night and then watched college hoops trying to understand the rationale of letting your best pass rusher go over relatively minimal cash when that is one a weak trait of your team.

It seems Scott Reynolds can’t figure this move out either. The Pewter Report chieftain took Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik to task for letting Michael Bennett walk away.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik gave overrated receiver Michael Clayton $6 million in 2009. He caught a career-low 16 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown before being released prior to the 2010 season.

With just over $20 million in salary cap room left in 2013 Dominik couldn’t spare $5 million to keep the team’s best pass rusher?

Dominik also gave running back Derrick Ward, a bum, $5 million in 2009. He rushed for 409 yards and one touchdown, while averaging 3.6 yards, in addition to catching 20 passes for 150 yards and two more scores before being cut after just one season in Tampa Bay. Clayton and Ward were fat-cat players who played football for the paychecks. Bennett, who led the team with a career-best nine sacks in 2012, plays football for the love of the game and it shows in his performance.

Reynolds also noted how cornerback Eric Wright, a team disappointment and a public embarrassment, was paid more than what Bennett received from the Seahawks.

Now Joe has stated before several times he had a hunch that Dominik was going to draft a pass rusher at No. 13. Joe is even more convinced of that now.

If Dominik doesn’t draft a pass rusher, or sign one in the next few days, he’s putting a whole lot of stock in a player (Da’Quan Bowers) who has yet to prove he can stay healthy. Then there’s his gun hassle in New York, which could affect his availability in 2014.

Lest we forget, Adrian Clayborn is coming off major knee surgery. Will he return to 100 percent? Joe doesn’t have a crystal ball.

No, Bennett was no Reggie White. But he was the best the Bucs had at putting heat on the quarterback from the edge. And now he has escaped to Seattle.

As much as Joe lauds Dominik for landing Dashon Goldson, he’s scratching his head over letting Bennett bolt to the Northwest.

46 Responses to “Subpar Bucs Pass Rush Just Got Worse”

  1. @MikeInTampa2 Says:

    We just took a step back. Should be adding talent…not letting it go. We lack sooo much depth

  2. mcBuc Says:

    Sciott needs to remember hindsight is 20/20. No one thought ward woukd suck so bad, and eric wright hekd the cards. Clayton i cannot explain. I hoped we stuck with bennet, but he seemed to lise a step in the last quarter of the season. I am sure a plan is in place.

  3. Robbie_G Says:

    Joe, I agree. Like I said before they gave a bench warmer/fill in linebacker 3 mil? This is just a headache from start to finish . You said it right Goldson is a great move. BUT, no CB help.. well other then chasing Revis up a mountain. And you needed MORE help on the d line, not less. well it looks like it’s Revis or bust.

  4. jvato24 Says:

    There must be some Pinky and the brain type of plan in the works. The leagues worst pass rush just got worse again. How many years can go by being the worst?? On top of that it makes the secondary weaker and we also failed to upgrade CB, although there werent any superstars, There was solid talent for fair value. So even if we get Revis, we cant upgrade need for starter at NT, RT, SLB, DE, TE, CB#2. We better have the draft of a lifetime, but we would be missing draft picks. I am curious to see the rabbit we pull out of our ass on this one.

  5. jfgobucs Says:

    The only thing that will easy this Free Agent to sign Grimes…

    Sure I believe Revis is coming..but at what price

  6. JH Says:

    I want to start by saying that loosing Bennett in FA is a huge disappointment and the Bucs now have yet another need. That being said I’m not sure this is all on the Bucs.

    I live down in Miami and was listening to the local radio here yesterday morning. Drew Rosenhaus, Bennett’s agent, was on for an interview talking about FA. He mentioned a strategy in which he encourages players who are on the cusp, to take a one year dear in hopes of a much larger payday down the road.

    An example he gave was our very own Dashon Goldson. Goldson was on the rise in 2011 and signed a 1 year deal with San Fran. He ends up having a great year and is subsequently franchised the following year. Because he waited in 2011, and rejected any kind of long term contract he is now the highest paid safety in the NFL. By signing a longer deal in 2011, he would have been signed for much less money than he has with us and he wouldn’t be able to try for that big payday until he is in his 30s and on the decline.

    Apply this to Bennett’s situation. Let’s say hypothetically the Bucs see Bennett as a middle of the road DE. Perhaps they offered him something like 4 year at 25 million. In Rosenhaus and Bennett’s mind he is worth much more and is not a middle road/back up DE. He wants to be paid 35 – 40 – 50 million. Signing a one year deal gives him the opportunity to improve his game and try again next year for the larger contract.

    So then where is the best place for Bennett to improve his career in hopes for that big payday?

    -Tampa: On the rise and could make the playoff as wildcard. But he has to split time with Bowers.
    -Seattle: Has risen and is going to contend for Superbowl. Due to injury and lack of depth he is starting.

    Unless the Bucs were going to pay Bennett the monster contract why would he really want to sign here? Even by signing here to a similar deal as in Seattle it’s more detrimental to his eventual payday. For Bennett to be a Buccaneer today, they needed to franchise him.

  7. BrianDorry55 Says:

    jfgobucs: That would make me feel a little better.

    Mark Dominik has completely blown this thing. There is no excuse for what has transpired over the last few days. Bennett and so many players that would have helped this team get to the next level were taken off the market for well under what their expected value was…

    Off with his head.

  8. astrobuc Says:

    We do not have the leagues worst pass rush.

    Also, Cassias deal is “up to” 3 mil. Base is probably much less.

  9. Paul Says:

    If Dom can get Revis without giving up a 1st, then I’ll dust off my seat on his bandwagon and jump back on. Until then, he’s in my doghouse.

  10. thomas Says:

    Hope Revis can rush the passer, as well as cover the receiver. Guess next he will look for Sapp to come ouy of retirement.

  11. Jacko101 Says:

    Simply put we are putting way too many eggs in 1 basket. Last year I called it saying the secondary will be the death of us. And this year I’m saying (thus far) run and pass will be the death of us.

  12. OptimisTroll Says:


    That is an awesome breakdown of what Bennett and his agent’s possible reasoning behind their contract agreement with the Seahawks. Thanks.

  13. flmike Says:

    FA is a two way street, if a player sees an opportunity elsewhere they are going to pursue it, as you would too. Bowers is going to be the starting LDE, I think he showed enough in his limited play last season that he is ready. As for players from other programs that could have helped us but signed elsewhere, again, it’s not a GMs fault if a given player wants to play for some other team, you can’t just throw money at a problem area and hope it is solved, you have to have the right ingredients to get to the proper solution, one of those ingredients is a player who is willing to come play for you.

  14. lurker Says:

    lol…joes, you have inside info on what went down that is not available to all?. if not, you are just guessing at what transpired. you list some signinsg as bad, but signing bennett to a starter’s salary when he was to be a backup is bad, also.

  15. Paul Says:

    He must be under the impression that we’re going to hit a grand slam in the draft.

  16. Dreambig Says:

    Everyone is freaking out about letting Bennett go. It is a bit of a head scratcher, but if we end up with Revis for next years #1, and draft a pass rushing DE this year, this could be a non issue. Reynolds criticism of Dominic is not entirely fair. There have been some great moves from Dominic to go along with the points Reynolds mentioned like V. Jackson, Carl Nicks, Mike Williams, pro bowler Gerald McCoy, Adrain Clayborn, hiring Greg Schiano. So while he has not been perfect, let’s not get our panties in a wad over one good player that got away. This team was starting to play pretty damn good last year before the injuries mounted to the point they could no longer compete. With this coaching staff, a handful of key additions, and our young players getting a little older, we should be in good shape to improve on last year.

  17. OptimisTroll Says:

    Why I am glad the Bucs didn’t resign Bennett:

    The Bucs did not have a premier d-line last year. Committing big money to the same players does not improve the group for the future. Although, there is a big potential for the performance of the defensive line to be worse without Bennett, there is not much chance of the performance of the line becoming much better after committing $6-9 million a year to Bennett.

    Like the Bucs and most Bucs fan, winning the Super Bowl is priority #1, and it is a counterproductive to lock the team up long-term in mediocrity.

  18. Warrenfb12 Says:

    Bennett is over rated. If he is so good why did he command a massive 1 year 5 million dollar deal. LOL! Who knows if he even gave the bucs a chance to match that. He probably was trying to save face by tucking and heading to Seattle. I have no doubt Bowers can muster those pedestrian numbers given the full season as a starter.

  19. bucfanjeff Says:

    Time will only tell if this was the right move. Yes it’s a gamble and they probably could (or should) have kept him. Let’s keep in mind that we don’t know what their plan is for this team. We all are speculating just like the media. I suspect Revis will happen and in the draft we target DE and CB early. We’re not done making moves…let’s watch and see what happens.

  20. Paul Says:

    I’m pretty sure that JH is right. I just don’t know why he wouldn’t do a 1yr/5mil here when he already knows the scheme and knows he can be a stud in it.

  21. SensibleBuc Says:


    I appreciate the breakdown too but he’s going to a team with WAY better pass rushers than the Bucs have so he’ll continue to be in a time-share at the position. Even though I don’t think he’s worth big money, I wouldve liked to see him come back at $5M lol

  22. Kaput Says:

    Cheap, cheap, cheap is what the Bucs are. And until they break this pattern, which is approaching a decade now, I refuse to spend my money on their product.

    It’s really as simple as that.

    I’ll pay attention like I always do, but if the game isn’t on the tube, oh well. I’ll go play golf or go fishing, screw them! I haven’t bought so much as a hat or a shirt in probably four years now – AND I’M THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE.

    Disgraceful, really.

  23. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    I’m not that surprised, as Dominick will astound you with both good and horrendous moves. This is not new for him.

    I can only hope Dumervil gets cut….

  24. SensibleBuc Says:

    *even though I don’t think he’s that good

  25. Bucfever40 Says:

    Bjoen Werner is the answer to our problems, he is a ready made pass rusher with a great motor and is a sound tackler, he should be there at 13, lets hope the Bucs make the right move here.

  26. Aldo Says:

    ok, to al the extremist fans who are cryin for bennet, let me tell you something, we can bounce and make it better, he is not bruce smith…

    to be fair im hoping this elvis dumervil saga in denver ends with his release and maybe Dom can make a push for him, but maybe im wrong…..

    i say trust in the team, i guess this decision is more on Schiano than Dominik, and for some reason he know about his depth or the plans with the D-Line…..

    my main issue is about the CBs, i hope this Revis Drama ends soon and give us the real position to aboard the draft

  27. Paul Says:

    I’d love Bowers to be the beast that everyone saw in college, but how can he beat a AIRPORT gun charge in the same NY that was the main victim of 9/11? Will his Achilies hold up? He looked real heavy when he came back, that thing must be screaming. 1yr/5mil is cheap insurance.

    I guess Bennett would rather take a chance and learn a new system and split time with Chris Clemons (same injury as Clayborn but better production) and Cliff Avril(more proven than Bowers) than Bowers and Clayborn.

  28. Tom Says:

    To those like flmike who feel as though Bennett was merely putting himself in a better position to succeed in Seattle because it offered more opportunity than to compete with Bowers here. The Seahawks signed Cliff Avril at DE (highest rated FA DEnd), already had Chris Clemons (coming off injury) and Bruce Irvin (1st Rd pick) at DE…In other words Seattle is more crowded at end than with Tampa. So your point is what again?

  29. Bucnjim Says:

    JH makes very valid points in his arguement. If you were a player; would you rather start for a potential Super Bowl team or split time with a team who is just looking to get into the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

  30. bucrightoff Says:

    You’d think we let Reggie White go the way some people are reacting. If you can get Freeney, Abraham or Umenyiora for the same price (1 yr, $5 million), then what did we lose exactly? Trading a guy who never makes an impact when it matters for potential guys who’ve done so consistently?

  31. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    No, we did not let Reggie White go. But we did let go our Top Pass Rusher, and he went cheap.
    I hope they have a plan to replace him, and/or upgrade our pass rush next year.

  32. DieHard_Bob Says:

    Guys . . . Guys . . . calm down!! IT’S ONLY MARCH 15TH!! Some of you sound like you have never been through a roster building process before. The first 24 to 48 hours of FA period is a sprint for teams to grab a player or two that they really covet as a star player that can help their team for several years. We got that player in Goldson. Next, you sit back and wait for the market price to come down and stabilize for the next tear of players and then pick some up to improve some of your need positions. So far we got a replacement for Black and a slot receiver. Last year we picked up 3 rookies in the draft that were very good starters, if we hit on one or two this year we can fill a couple more needs. Then after the draft is what some people call the “second FA period” when teams start letting go players that are being replaced with high pick rookies. There are usually some good value there because some good players are a little overpaid which is why they are being let go but are still an upgrade over what you have and can be had for less. Then during and after training camp there are more players let go and players on other teams practice squads that are being hidden like Blount was that can be picked up at a good price. Another example would be Eric Wright. Other GM’s know that he will probably be let go and know that the Bucs can hold onto him until just before the first game if they want to. He would be an upgrade to some teams CB’s. For all we know there could be a GM in communication with our GM waiting for him to be cut loose and their fans don’t know it yet. Bottom line is that no roster will be finalized for another 5 or 6 months and there are a lot of ways to pick up players . . . SO CHILL!

  33. Phenom4 Says:

    Get over it my fellow Buc nation, Its over and done with, nothing we can do about it, OptimisTroll has a good point that keeping him by overpaying does not improve the line. Dom and Schiano have a plan and Dom will work some magic in the draft cause he does have an extra 4th and 7th to deal if need be

  34. Zoocomics Says:

    To JH: Great explanation, and out of everything I’ve read, I believe that’s EXACTLY how it went down. Keep in mind, Seattle will get much much more exposure next season than the Bucs. Seattle will be a great stage to profile his skills for a bigger long term contract.

    To OptimisTroll: That’s a great way to look at Bennett. Although he was a our best pass rusher, what can you do? keep the same line intact? It would be the same pass rush as last year with a healthy Clayborn, granted his return would make for a better d-line. However, Bowers needs to be put in a starting role, that’s why they drafted him, he’s a beast! Essentially, Bennett was the odd man out due to contracts. You can’t sell Bowers and Clayborn at this point, and you couldn’t keep Bennett as a safety net, then bench him in favor as Bowers. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance

  35. jvato24 Says:

    Seahawks will get national publicity, the Bucs wont even get local publicity and he will be more marketable

  36. Pete 422 Says:

    Over reacting once again. Season hasn’t even started yet!

  37. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    Kaput Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 8:53 am
    Cheap, cheap, cheap is what the Bucs are. And until they break this pattern, which is approaching a decade now, I refuse to spend my money on their product.

    It’s really as simple as that.

    I’ll pay attention like I always do, but if the game isn’t on the tube, oh well. I’ll go play golf or go fishing, screw them! I haven’t bought so much as a hat or a shirt in probably four years now – AND I’M THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE.

    Disgraceful, really.
    Cheap? Really? Look I dont like the fact we let this guy go, I think it was a horrible non decision on our part. But calling them cheap is ridiculous after the moves they have made the last 2 years. Obviously they didnt believe in him otherwise they would of locked him up. Use your head and stop talking out your ass. Dom has to know his job is on the line and there is a plan in place. We dont really care if you dont want to spend your money, you dont sound like much of a fan anyways so no big loss. Its as simple as that… really.

  38. Dave Says:

    I truly believe Bennett had NO intention of coming back to the Bucs.

    IF… IF… Dumervil walks from the Broncos in 4 hours the Bucs should have a plane and a 11 million per year contract waiting for him

  39. Architek Says:

    Miscalculation and ill advise risk taking is going to catch up to Dominik!

  40. Tomcin Says:

    And the Bucs can’t understand why fans don’t go to games. This is the most unprofessional franchise I ever saw. Good work Dum. I guess this was your last hurrah. Wait before you go, give away a bunch of our high draft picks & a ton of money & sign cry baby Revis.

  41. Sambizle Says:

    Revis is the most overrated CB in NFL History. Even if we had 25 Revis’s in the D back field, if the QB is sitting back there with all day to pass a fat slow women can get open. Pass rush is by far our bigest problem. Like mentioned above several times 2 of our lineman are coming back from major injuries.

  42. patrickbucs Says:

    @JH, good information. I would like to point out 1 important difference between your Goldson & Bennett comparisons: 1 Goldson signed his deal because he was francised by the 49ers so he was paid at the top of his position. Bennett signed a lowly 1 year $5 million (for NFL defensive ends), if he would have signed a franchise tag his salary would have more then doubled his salary this year. Goldson and the 49ers couldn’t work out a long term deal partly because they have so many other young studs on both sides of the ball that need new deals as well. Also Rosenhaus wouldn’t have a bunch of clients if all he did was advise thm to get 1 year deals.

    Bennett and Avril play the same LE position. So unless Bennett or Avril is switching positions Bennett will be in the same rotational position as the Bucs wanted him to be here.

  43. Kaput Says:


    You do realize that, even after getting the guys last year, that the Bucs were still in the bottom five for spending, right?

    Facts are hard to see when your head is in the sand.

  44. Richard Says:

    The Bucs haven’t signed every single free agent whose name I recognize, therefore free agency has been a failure.

    Seriously, people, free agency doesn’t mean, “We made you an offer, you HAVE to come here.”

  45. SilenceTheCritics Says:


    I only debate with Buc fans. Go find another team to troll 🙂

  46. Kaput Says:

    Not trolling, just being honest. If you want to blindly throw money at a team that shows little interest in spending money that’s on you, bu you’re a toll for doing so.