Mark Dominik on free agency: 'The grass isn't greener'
The Bucs, perceived by many to be unwilling to spend money in free agency, have written more than $100 million worth in contracts and rank among the NFL’s top 10 in two significant spending areas since the start of free agency, according to NFL data.
The Bucs rank in the top 10 in both total contract value and guarantees issued since the end of the NFL lockout, even if most of the deals have been done with their own players.
On that note, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik defends his team’s approach to free agency, saying the club will not diverge from its philosophy of limiting its forays into the free-agent market.
“It was our plan from Day 1 and we haven’t veered from it,” Dominik said. “We knew right off the bat is wasn’t popular, we all know that. Not to rehash the names, but it wasn’t popular. We’re not there yet. We haven’t made the playoffs yet.
“But we stayed the course and we’re going to stay the course. I feel energy from the fans, that they’re excited about this football team, they’re excited about these young guys and they can’t wait to go out and see the games and see what they can do. I’m the same way.”
Dominik indicated that the Bucs wouldn’t be engaging in much free-agent activity beyond the deals they’ve already done. The Bucs have signed five unrestricted free agents, four of which were their own players (Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, Quincy Black and Adam Hayward).
“I would say in terms of free agency, I’m excited to see what these 90 guys (currently on the roster) can do right now,” Dominik said. “. . . That’s the way I’m approaching free agency now.”
But why not delve into signing outside free agents beyond punter Michael Koenen? Dominik suggested the Bucs’ approach hasn’t been all that different.
“I think there are a lot of clubs that sat on the sidelines more than we did,” he said. “And No. 2, our internal thoughts were always to retain our players. Therefore, by re-signing Davin Joseph, I didn’t have to go re-sign some other guard who was more popular because he was from outside.
The grass isn’t greener.”
Another of Dominik's major themes today: The Bucs' successful drafts the past two seasons have created a situation where there's no pressure to sign free agents. In other cities many free-agent signings are made necessary by the inability of teams' draft picks to produce.
"They're here and they were already winning last year," Dominik said. "So, they were already playing important roles for us. (Rookie guard) Ted Larsen steps in (last season), becomes our left guard and he's here. So, we don't have to go buy a guard in free agency because I have a lot of confidence in Ted Larsen the player."