I’m a little perturbed right now mind you. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been a little shook up since the firing of Jon Gruden in late January. If it wasn’t for my wedding and subsequent honeymoon, I might be a little more than perturbed, more like steaming.
I had real visions of a grandiose offseason for my beloved Bucs. Of course, I didn’t expect it to start out with the firing of a good Head Coach and GM in Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen. I also was a little taken aback by the release of Derrick Brooks. I understood it from a rebuilding standpoint, but I didn’t like the shitty excuse Mark Dominik gave me about not wanting Derrick Brooks on the sideline wearing a cap. I’m a fan of the Bucs though, so I accepted these shaky decisions and started looking forward to a free agency period that featured a few players who we could certainly benefit from and 61 mil in cap space to pursue who we wanted as well as resigning our own guys.
Let me preface my free agent rant with one thing, I’m a firm believer in building via trades and via the draft, two things that generally are one in the same in the NFL. I think that free agency leads to overpayment of players, and unrealistic expectations as a result of overpayment. On the other hand, with the release of 5 guys on the eve of free agency and some glaring holes to fill, I thought we would come in to FA strong, namely for one guy in particular, Albert Haynesworth. As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for not overpaying for guys in FA. If we thought that Albert Haynesworth was going to be a little too rich for our blood, and we backed off, than so be it. My issue comes with the subsequent resigning of WR Michael Clayton to 10.5 mil in gauaranteed money. It was reported everywhere that the Bucs and the Skins were the final two teams in the running for Big Al. He signed for about 41 mil in gauranteed money. What do you think the Bucs were offering, 35, 36, 37 mil? In my head that 4-6 mil difference would be enough of a gap for the Bucs brass to back off, and for Big Al to say that’s a big enough difference to sign in Washington. Fine. I’m ok with all of this. 10.5 freaking million for Michael Clayton. For real. The guy doesn’t have over 500 receiving yards since his rookie season. Dominik didn’t think it more beneficial to add that 4-6 mil to Big Al’s deal, and offer Clayton what he is worth, around 6 mil gauranteed. Does anyone not see the ridiculousness of this. Defensive Tackle is in my mind, one of the two most important positions on the defensive side of the ball. This man wreaks havoc at this position. He is constantly shedding double teams, and cut blocks and still not just occupying blockers, but getting to the damned QB. Serious blunder in deciding that a 3rd WR, because lets be honest, that’s what Michael Clayton has shown over the last 4 years (I loved this guy out of college, so don’t get all Steve Duemigie on me and think I got a personal bias against the guy) is more important than signing a defensive cog in his prime, who at one point might have been the MVP of the NFL season. What’s gonna make me even more upset is when the Nate Washington’s and Devery Henderson’s of the world sign for 1/2 of what we gave to Michael Clayton.
Today was the icing on the cake for me. This whole Jay Cutler story is eating me up inside. If the BS reports out of NE and KC are true, that the Bucs just jumped into the equation too late, isn’t this a stain on the front office that must be accounted for. With all of the inside information that is passed around the NFL, you would assume that someone in our front office would have caught wind of something like this going down. Franchise QB’s don’t become available via trade very often, and for a few hours yesterday, it appeared that one was available, and we whiffed.
I’m generally very supportive of my teams front office. I understand the complexities of the cap, of the business side of the operation as well as the player and football side of the whole thing. I’m usually one to give the front office the benefit of the doubt for a missed pick, a missed FA, or just a general error that sports radio hosts in Tampa will crucify the front office for. This situation though leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and it is one that I hope our front office gives me a nice frosty glass of scotch to wash that bitterness out with….very soon.
Topics: Albert Haynesworth, Bruce Allen, Devery Henderson, Jay Cutler, Jon Gruden, Kansas City Chiefs, Mark Dominik, Michael Clayton, Nate Washington, New England Patriots, Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers