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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Different contract lengths for Morris, Dominik? Here's why



The perceptive Bucs fans among you probably noticed that when coach Raheem Morris' contract option was exercised the other day, it was a two-year option that locked him up through 2012.

Then, earlier today, we learned Mark Dominik's contract option was also picked up, but covered just 2011.

Why? Well, it's complicated.

First, let's be clear about some things. Based on everything we've been told, neither of these were contract extensions. The Glazer family simply picked up options written into the existing contracts signed by Morris and Dominik when they were hired in January 2009. But what's become clear now, two years later, is that while Morris and Dominik were sort of a package deal back then, their content of their contracts were quite different.

This is obviously a departure from the past. When coach and general manager Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were given their respective contract extensions after the 2007 season, the Bucs gave them both extensions through 2011. You know the rest of that story, as they were fired a year later and the Bucs are still on the hook for Gruden's salary.

In this case, the Glazer family seemed to have learned from that fiasco, taking a more conservative approach to its handling of the current regime.

But why is Morris locked in longer than Dominik? Likely because the Glazers know a coach's contract status is a bigger issue than a general manager's. Just ask John Fox, who entered this season in the last year of his contract with the Carolina Panthers. Once the season started going south, it became extremely hard to ignore the fact Fox was probably done for. Try coaching a team when every one of your players knows you're a dead man walking. No easy task.

Ever read a story in the media about a lame-duck general manager? Didn't think so. Lame-duck coaches, on the other hand, are prime story material. And Dominik, as a member of the personnel staff over the years, was accustomed to working on one-year deals that are typical among mid-level front-office staff, meaning the concept isn't foreign to him.

There are other possible explanations behind all this, but we won't speculate about whether the Bucs view Morris and Dominik in different lights. That's impossible to know given the Glazers' silence on this issue.

Either way, this is just an effort to set the record straight on the contracts for the men leading the Bucs into the future. In any case, both are onboard for the foreseeable future, which is a very good thing for this young, up-and-coming football team.

[Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 7:53pm]


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