Is Mark Dominik Obsessing? Evaluating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 Offseason Plan
By Leo Howell
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Dashon Goldson, most fans saw the start of a busy offseason, bringing in depth and talent to rebuild a struggling defense. A star safety to back up veteran corners, and a front seven bolstered by the addition of key veteran pieces.
But Mark Dominik may have tipped his hand a bit at the press conference announcing the signing of Goldson. Rick Stroud wrote this in the Tampa Bay Times, quoting Dominik in the process:
"“I was encouraged that we recruited him hard enough to get him on the first flight,” general manager Mark Dominik said of the charter Goldson took to Tampa on Tuesday. “There were times I was nervous and wondering if we were able to make this come together.”While Goldson needed a sales pitch, the Bucs long have been sold on the two-time Pro Bowl free safety. In fact, Dominik said he tried to trade for him prior to April’s draft….***“I think he was one of the gems of this entire free agent class,” Dominik said. “I think he’s viewed, unilaterally, as one of the best safeties in the National Football League … clearly by the All-Pro, the Pro Bowls.”"
It should come as no surprise that a GM would talk well about his latest signing, and Dominik did just that. But he revealed something interesting.
He had wanted Goldson for a while, trying to trade for him last season, and flying him out first thing this offseason to make sure to get him to sign. While this is a great thing if it means talent comes to Tampa Bay, it can be harmful if a focus on a particular player blinds the front office to other potential options.
With the Seattle Seahawks signing Michael Bennett to a one year, five million dollar bargain contract, we might have seen another instance of Dominik obsessing over a particular player. In this case, that player is Da’Quan Bowers. Stroud also quoted Dominik with the following regarding his defensive end:
"“Da’Quan is a guy I thought continued to accelerate his play throughout the end of the season,” Dominik said. “The more we can get him on the football field, I think the better we are as a football team. Certainly, that’s part of the thought process going forward with our entire football team, hopefully getting Adrian Clayborn back and 100 percent healthy and then be able to pair him with a guy like Da’Quan who we feel can be a premier left end in this league.”"
Dominik obviously likes Bowers, but with a proven history of knee injuries, and a current felony charge on the table, did the Buccaneers’ GM focus on the wrong player, and allow a valuable defensive end to walk for a below market value deal in Seattle? Sure, Bennett isn’t the greatest defensive end in the world, but he was a key contributor to a stalwart rush defense. And he was versatile, able to play multiple positions on the defensive line. So is Bowers worth enough to prevent the Buccaneers from paying Bennett?
Let’s take a look at one other instance where the Buccaneer front office might be obsessing over a particular player, and see if the pieces fit.
It appears that everyone in the Buccaneer organization wants Darrelle Revis. And while there’s nothing wrong with pursuing the best cornerback in the NFL, it may be yet another example of obsession blinding the franchise from making other deals. There’s no question that the Buccaneers need two corners this offseason, and Revis is by all accounts one man who can only play corner on one side of the field at a time. But as Yahoo’s Jason Cole reported, the whole management team wants Revis. So is that why Derek Cox, Sean Smith, Greg Toler, Keenan Lewis, and other corners have already been scooped up in cheap deals with other teams, and the Buccaneers still sit with Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer as starting corners in 2013?
I could be proven wrong, and Bennett could wind up being a non-factor in Seattle. I could be wrong, and all the aforementioned free agent cornerbacks could be disappointments. I could be wrong, and Da’Quan Bowers could be an absolute monster who stays on the field for 1000 snaps in 2013. But as it stands, there’s a pattern developing in the Tampa Bay offseason plan. And I’m not convinced yet that it’s a good pattern.
Luckily there’s plenty of time and plenty of players left. We’ll see what the grand scheme is eventually.