Mark Dominik, Bills GM secretly recorded during trade talks
Devious pranksters with too much time of their hands appear to have conducted an interesting (and probably illegal) experiment that put Bucs general manager Mark Dominik on Front Street.
On Friday, just before the start of the NFL’s three-day free-agent negotiating period, the pranksters, after making a call to Bills general manager Buddy Nix posing as Dominik, somehow got access to the eventual callback from Nix to Dominik.
They surreptitiously recorded the 5-minute call and shared the clip with Deadspin.com. In it, Dominik laments the uselessness of the negotiating period and discusses his efforts to trade running back LeGarrette Blount and receiver Arrelious Benn (he claimed there’s some interest in both).
Nix, meanwhile, talked at length about his team’s struggles to find a suitable starting quarterback, saying they don’t currently have one. That’s certain to be quite irritating to current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who Nix seemed bent on replacing if possible.
On the negotiating period, during which teams and agents can discuss free agents but not finalize deals, Dominik said, “What’s the point? All it does is give leverage to the agents to ask for more money. It’s not a good play. There’s just no benefit to the club. I don’t see a benefit for us.”
Regarding the Bucs’ free agents, Dominik emphasized what’s long been clear, that the team isn’t likely to re-sign its primary free agents – at least not right now.
“None of mine are signing,” he said. “Not one. They don’t want to sign. There’s a couple I don’t want to sign. Some of them think they just need to go see the market. But I can’t get my own guys signed either, Buddy. . . All it does is make us bid against ourselves.”
The Bucs are already known to be attempting to trade Blount and Benn, and Dominik was gauging Nix’s interest.
“I know I sat down and talked to you about some of the players I’m talking about moving,” Dominik said. “Benn and Blount are the two that have more interest. The corner, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I haven’t decided what to do with the corner yet. Those are the three. In terms of Jamon Meredith, no one’s really called me back on Jamon to be honest with you.”
Dominik didn’t identify the young cornerback he was referring to, though it could be free agent E.J. Biggers, Myron Lewis or Eric Wright. And it wasn’t previously known the team had interest in trading Meredith, a guard-tackle.
Nix, in response to the trade inquiry, said, “We’re pretty good on tackles. To tell you the truth, we’ve got six draft picks and, hell, we need to gain some, not give them up. It’s pretty hard for us.”
But the biggest ripples from the call came when Nix began talking about his team’s quarterback situation.
He said, among other things, “We're still struggling here with our quarterback. We’re not really struggling. He's going to have to do something, or we'll have to. . . We just can't afford to pay that kind of money for a guy who's fighting for probably a backup job.”
The Bills have released a statement on the report that suggests they're taking the trick seriously.
"We are aware of the report on Deadspin involving a phone conversation with Bills GM Buddy Nix. We have made the league aware of the report and are reviewing it with legal counsel," the statement reads.
The Bucs declined comment.