With free agency upon us, Buccaneer fans everywhere are beginning to drool over all the possibilities that might be. Will the Bucs go after this guy or that guy? Will they make a trade? Who will they draft? The questions are endless. That being said there is one question all Bucs fans should know the answer to; can we trust the man in charge?
The answer to this question in the mind of everyone from players, to fans, to Mark Dominik’s peers should be a resounding yes.
Let’s examine some of the moves that Dominik has made since becoming the Buccaneers GM.
Last year the Bucs were in need of a WR, some offensive line depth, and a cornerback opposite Talib. Dominik racked up Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, and Eric Wright. Most thought they could use help in the secondary through the daft. Others thought another running back was the way to go. Dominik trades down to get Barron, then uses the added picks to move up and get Doug Martin. He filled many needs, but did so in a way that allowed for flexibility heading into the 2013 offseason.
How bout the year before? Need help on the defensive line, he drafts Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, need another LB, so he grabs Mason Foster later on in the draft. That draft also included Luke Stocker and Ahmad Black, players who have contributed despite being later round prospects. The one other glaring weakness that offseason was punter, so the Buccaneers’ GM signs the best punter on the market, Michael Koenen.
But it’s not only filling needs. Dominik does it all. He finds hidden gems like LeGarrette Blount, Tiquan Underwood, fourth round pick Mike Williams, Lavonte David, Leonard Johnson, and the list of guys stolen off other teams scrap heap that make contributions in Tampa is almost unbelievable. Remember that Dominik has been with the Buccaneers for a long time, and has been helping make personnel decisions since the the 1990′s.
Dominik is also the master of the NFL trade. This is a man who got assets out of Brian Price, Gaines Adams, and Aqib Talib 6 weeks before he became a free agent. He then turns those picks into either contributors, or assets to move up to grab the guys he really wants (Martin, David, etc.). He’s also on the verge of getting a draft pick out of LeGarrette Blount, as we reported earlier.
History has a tendency to repeat itself. And in this case that’s a great thing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mark Dominik has a history of making the Bucs better by filling glaring needs and finding players no one expected to be good and getting something out of them. All signs point to him doing this again. Sure the play on the field hasn’t exactly reflected all the praise I’ve poured on Dominik, but the fact of the matter is, this guy has made the Bucs better every single year since he got here. And there’s no reason to think that wont continue this offseason. He’s building up a solid foundation, and the team is trending in the right direction.
I’m all for screaming, “we should sign…”, “draft…”, or “trade for…”, but while you are making these comments remember, the moves Dominik actually ends up making tend to work. So fill out your offseason wish lists however you like, but know that the guy buying the presents might know what you want better than you do.