Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Buccaneers May Pass On Free Agents . . . Again

It's the biggest difference between Mark Dominik and Bruce Allen.  And it's hard for fans to sit through.

Bruce Allen brought in free agents by the truckload (and continues to do so in Washington).  Mark Dominik treads lightly into free agency.  And fans, addicted to the fast paced fantasy football mindset, are beside themselves waiting for that big name player to drag big game stats into Raymond James.

First and foremost, I overturned the Spend-To-Win Myth a couple years ago.  Please come to grips with it before reading further.

For 2011, I think there are many reasons the Buccaneers may not make a big splash in NFL Free Agency (just like last season), turning their $50+ million cap surplus inward for a select few of their own free agents instead.  My reasons for believing this are named Miller, Freeman, and Blount.  To name just a few.

Tampa Bay currently has 72 (plus or minus the last few hours) players from last season and 16 college free agents under contract -- there is not much more room left in camp for a free agency haul.

But I think staying away from the deep end of the free agent pool has much more to do with next year -- and the next.  In fact, I get the feeling Dominik is planning three years ahead (at least), when some very talented draft classes come out of their rookie contracts.

It starts next offseason when players like Josh Johnson, Geno Hayes, and Aqib Talib are in their fourth season, the typical length of a rookie contract.

In 2013, Dominik's first draft class will be reaching the end of their contracts.  Josh Freeman alone will require a significant paycheck to retain his services, not to mention Roy Miller, EJ Biggers, Sammie Stroughter, Kyle Moore, Micheal Bennett, and Rudy Carpenter.

2014 includes Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Cody Grimm, Myron Lewis, and Ted Larson.

Somewhere in there are the undrafted contributors like LeGarrette Blount, Derek Hardman, and Will Barker.

So Dominik should be tight fisted.  He has said all along (and again this week: listen for a minute each at 8:00, 17:30, and 19:40) he believes on drafting, developing, and rewarding the best talent creates the most consistent winners.  And his own drafting success may put him up against the salary cap in the next two years.

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