Bucs RT Demar Dotson - Photo by: Getty Images
Timing is everything in life.
There was a time when the Buccaneers were definitely in the mood to give underpaid right tackle Demar Dotson a contract extension. That time was early this summer as general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg were patiently negotiating with linebacker Lavonte David on his contract extension.
The timing of Dotson’s knee injury, which has been called a knee sprain and will not require surgery, on Saturday couldn’t have been worse for the Bucs or Dotson himself.
For the Bucs, the team plans on starting second-round pick Ali Marpet at right guard and wanted to have him nestled between veteran center Evan Smith and Dotson, who is entering his seventh season in the NFL, to protect rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. On an offensive line that could feature two rookies in Marpet and Donovan Smith at left tackle, having experienced starters like Dotson was key.
For Dotson, his knee injury brings contract talks to a screeching halt. With two years left on his contract, Licht is in no hurry to extend the contract of an injured player – and rightly so.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images
There was a chance, the Bucs’ brain trust thought, of getting Dotson’s deal first in May while the team would wait patiently for other linebacker contract extensions to come for players like Carolina’s Thomas Davis, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and Detroit’s DeAndre Levy. But Greg Hobbs, Dotson’s inexperienced agent, wanted to shoot for the sky with his only NFL client and drive a hard bargain.
With two years left on a contract that would pay Dotson $4.25 million in 2015 and 2016, the Bucs didn’t have to negotiate a new deal now. Because Licht liked Dotson so much and because he was such a hard worker, Licht wanted Dotson to have a new deal that paid a much fairer wage.
Had Hobbs and Dotson been reasonable, a new deal paying the 29-year old right tackle between $4 million and $5 million per season could have been achieved earlier in the summer. Opportunity knocked for both the player and the agent, but neither answered the door.
PewterReport.com spoke with several agents during the summer who grimaced at the notion of Dotson holding out of OTAs at the insistence of Hobbs and for turning down the Bucs’ offer. It’s clear that Hobbs’ inexperience cost both he and Dotson big money, and ultimately Dotson did the right thing in firing Hobbs in July and switching representation to Joby Branion, an NFL agent with an impressive stable of clients, plenty of experience and a good reputation.
But it was too late to get a deal done. Too much time had been wasted, and Dotson’s holdout for two weeks in early June didn’t exactly motivate Licht to kick-start negotiations.
Dotson is a very hard worker and one of the nicest guys and best teammates on the Buccaneers. Everyone agrees that he deserves a pay raise, but due to his unfortunate knee injury, not everyone agrees on when exactly that raise will now come.
The NFL has an old saying – “You can’t help the club in the tub,” which means that injured players are of little use to teams, and it applies in this instance. Although Dotson certainly didn’t mean to get injured, the fact is that Tampa Bay won’t be able to use a player that is paid $2.5 million for at least half the season, and had to go out and spend an additional $2.5 million this year on 31-year old veteran Gosder Cherlius to replace Dotson.
Gosder’s deal is a two-year contract worth as much as $7 million with the chance for a bigger pay day coming in 2016 should he stay on the roster and hit incentives. The twisted irony is that Dotson’s pay raise that he was seeking for 2015 has essentially now been given to Cherilus – his temporary, or perhaps permanent, replacement.
Bucs RT Gosder Cherilus – Photo by: Getty Images
Blame is a cruel word to use in this instance, but Dotson can only blame himself for his missed opportunity.
He certainly can’t be blamed for a freak injury like the one that occurred on Saturday night in Minnesota, but Dotson has to hold himself accountable for hiring Hobbs in the first place, and for keeping him on as his agent after Hobbs negotiated a ridiculously low-balled contract extension in 2013 that put Dotson in this undesirable situation in the first place.
Not only did Hobbs negotiate an undervalued contract in 2013, for some reason, he had Dotson’s earnings go from $2 million in 2013 and 2014 to $2.5 million in 2015 and then to idiotically plunge to $1.75 million next year.
Dotson didn’t have to agree to hold out like Hobbs wanted him to back in June, and he could have taken the raise that came with the contract extension the Bucs proposed earlier in the summer, which was believed to be in the neighborhood of $4 million per season.
Taking that deal would have essentially doubled Dotson’s pay. If Dotson could go back in time and do things differently he likely would, and he would be richer today for it.
Unfortunately, Dotson left a lot of money on the field in Minnesota, but it didn’t have to be that way.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree with SR on this one, just a sad situation all around. Another option that could have worked out for the Bucs and Dotson would have been trading him when he first held out. There’s no way of knowing if Dotson would have gotten the same injury playing for another team, but there’s a chance he wouldn’t have. Also, the Bucs could have picked up Cherilus earlier in the offseason and given him more time to get comfortable in the offense. BTW, I’m not a fan of Cherilus and haven’t been going back to evaluating him at Boston College. Since he’s a Buc now though I at least hope his knee is 100% and he’s ready play at least a well as Dotson.
First off this showed what L and L truly think of there depth obviously not the ridiculous fodder that they have been spewing. It’s sad that it takes this for the team to add depth as should have been done a month ago……… This may end up being a blessing for the fans and the team but certainly not Dotson .Hell Dotson really may have done the management a favor maybe the Glazers will give him a management fee LoL .Now let’s be honest the Bucs now have it both ways , no doubt they said Please just come to camp and we will re do your deal that is currently 50 percent below fair market value !! Well guess what ,Dot did what was best for the Team, not Dot and now it appears the Bucs are gonna do what’s best for the Bucs. Please don’t ever do an article regarding a player holding out and or not reporting because Dotson shouldn’t even have to ask for a raise and yes I hate to say it ,he sure shouldn’t have reported and let the L and L figure out the QB situation.Its actions like this that make agents hated ; well back up and follow the trail , it leads back to the team .Dotson was the good guy , the team guy in this ,I hope the Bucs don’t make him finish last.I don’t believe he was offered 4 mil and 4.5 in 2016 as I have heard rumored, I highly doubt it !!
I say he would sign tomorrow for 3.5 ishand 3.75 ish for 16 so why not use this situation as a plus and sign him , 2.5 mil sign bonus the rest how they see fit over two years with third option . Just sayin make a negative into a positive because it’s only a sprain ?? Talk about using and abusing a guy he only has a sprain , re do his dam contract. It is just a sprain ??
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Okay it is what it is for Dotson, but he may be valuable still as a back up RT and LT for a few more years at a reasonable price. His carreer with the Bucs may not be over. Go Bucs!
I personally like Big Dot. I hope he gets well soon and can resume his career. Regardless of how some fans feel about his worth, he’s better than a lot of the people we got imitating NFL O-Linemen and you can’t convince me otherwise because I’ve got tape. He’s no pro bowler, but he’s been worth every peanut the Bucs have paid him and he’s been paid peanuts!
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