Bucs general manager Mark Dominik met with the media to reflect on the Bucs free agency moves. Dominik talked about the Bucs re-signing a few players and former Falcons punter Michael Koenen.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik met with the media on Friday evening to discuss the Bucs free agency moves. The past few days Tampa Bay’s front office has been busy with signing draft picks, undrafted free agents, restricted free agents, and unrestricted free agents. The Buccaneers have re-signed linebacker Quincy Black, guard Davin Joseph, right tackle Jeremy Trueblood and free agent punter Michael Koenen.
The following is full transcript of the question and answer session with Dominik. The questions from the media are in parenthesis in bold above Dominik’s answer.(Opening Statement)
“Obviously it was a big day today for the organization. We got a chance to go inside and sign a lot guys back to contracts. We got all of our exclusive rights guys all signed up. We got one left restricted free agent who is about to sign here shortly. Then obviously we got a chance to sign some unrestricted free agents that have been apart of our team. A couple of years ago when we got this opportunity, coach Morris and I talked about protecting and attacking the quarterback. In the draft we’ve been doing a lot in terms of trying to attack the quarterback with the defensive line. Today was a big day to make sure we keep Josh Freeman healthy and protecting the quarterback by signing Jeremy Trueblood for two more years and Davin Joseph for seven more years. Then having a chance to lock in Quincy Black who also is a very productive player and an aggressive football player that brings the style we want to play here in Tampa. Again what we think is very important in a special teams weapon as a punter and a great kickoff player with the new rules that we have going forward with the competition committee, we feel like we’ve done a lot of things to help this team. It is early. It has been a long four days, but it is nice to see the football team back on the field and it is good to see you all.”
(How is your plan going of signing your rookies and getting your guys brought back)
“The plan has been good. I was very excited about our rookie class coming in here. I thought they looked good today moving around. It is just fun to see all the guys right now. It has been a reunion of sorts, so it has been a great day to walk around and catch up with a later of players that we haven’t had the chance to touch or talk to for months. The plan is coming together, but obviously it is a chance to get on the field and start to become the football team we want to be and get ready for that opening game.”(What has this week been like for you compared to other weeks)
“We had a rough one last year when we were trying to get Gerald McCoy and Donald Penn done. That was hard, but this one you try to accelerate five months of work into three days. I think we processed almost 40 contracts up stairs in terms of negotiations, and on the eve of free agency I don’t think I’ve stopped talking since I got up Tuesday morning. It has been a lot of work but there have been a lot of people that have done work for us Shelton Quarles, Dennis Hickey and Mike Greenberg, our new cap guy has been a busy guy, so I’ve had a lot of help up there to make it as fun as possible.”(Talk about the big investment made in Koenen)
“I’ve always told you guys I’m a big believer in special teams in terms how players make this team early on and where they go. Specifically punter and kicker are a big part of that. I think they control a lot of field position that a lot of fans that sometimes we take for granted. I felt like Michael because of his kickoff specialty in moving the ball up five more yards and bringing the ball out to the 20. I thought brought a lot of value to our football team to limit kickoff returns and also keep your team healthy in a way. Not only is he a really good punter but he is a phenomenal kickoff guy and I think it is a big weapon in the National Football League and I look forward to him coming in here and showing that off.”(Have you spent this much money in one week before?)
“I almost did last year. I was just talking about that upstairs. We spent just about that much last year, but we did a little bit more this year, that is just part of the plan. I think all our fans understand. If you look around the National Football League over the last couple of days and all the agreements and the contracts that have been signed, there have been some great big deals out there I think Davin was a part of that. At the same time we look at our football team and make sure that we are budgeting correctly to make sure that the guys that are on the football team don’t become free agents one day, and if they do it is a chance for us to lock them up and we are in a position to do so.”(Is the free agency process going the way you thought it would go?)
“No it is going pretty much the way I expect it to go. I think it feels like the beginning of March except we are playing football. There are a lot of rumors flying around here. We are trying to be on the phone a lot with a lot of different general managers to take advantage of if there is a trade that makes sense for the organization. You get a lot of information as you go. [Nmandi] Asomugha just decided to go to Philadelphia. There was some stuff that was said to me this morning that was where he could end up now. It is a puzzle that you try to put together but at the same time we’ve had five months to try and put it all together, and right now it is going accordingly. We’ve gotten the guys we really wanted to lock up, and we are continuing to talk to agents and we are continuing to finish up our draft class.”(Dominik on how the team plans to get to the salary cap floor)
“I think an easy thing for all fans to understand is that by the collective bargaining agreement that will hopefully soon be ratified officially, there’s a spending minimum that the entire league has to do over the next couple of years, and obviously we’re a part of that. Again, we’re sticking to our plan of how we want to put this thing together and be a long-term contender. Really, the important thing for me, coach Morris, and the ownership is to try to keep the continuity together. We all fell in love with that group of guys in the ‘90’s and we would like to keep doing that. When you see the contracts that are going around the national football league right now, you know that you’ve got to budget accordingly today to make sure you can take care of your team tomorrow. That’s what we’re going to do.”(The status of when sixth-round draft pick Allen Bradford is going to sign)
“I just talked to his agent and it was a good conversation. I’m assuming it’s going to be taken care of today. It’s part of the new CBA and part of the new rookie pool and how it’s calculated that made it a little bit tougher, but I will do have I have to in order to come up with an agreement. I expect him to be here tomorrow.”(Dominik on signing free agents that aren’t part of the team)
“We’re still in the process of talking to free agents to see what’s available and certainly tonight is the first night that you can officially waive players and so there are a lot of names on that and we’re going to continue to look at that list and see if there’s something that really makes sense for our football team and certainly as you walk through practice every day things can change quickly. We’re just updating our emergency boards and updating our UFA boards.” (On the fast pace of the last couple of days)
“I think the pace is going to continue to go a little bit here because a lot of players just got released in the last couple of hours and there are some good players obviously on that list and still there are hundreds and hundreds of free agents that are still looking for opportunities. I think the pace is going to continue to go well early into camp.”(Dominik on if Packers linebacker Nick Barnett is on his radar)
“You know I can’t answer that question right now because the guy’s under contract right now. I didn’t see the wire yet so I don’t know if he’s been released.”(On if his head has been spinning with everything that’s been happening the last five days.)
“Yeah, but again I have a lot of guys upstairs helping me, coming into my office and telling me, ‘here’s what’s going on, here’s what’s happening, here are the contracts’. Everyone is updated because we keep trying to build spreadsheets of where the market is going so we can be prepared. It’s been busy and it’s been stressful. Obviously having 40 contracts and negotiating all of those and trying to get it all out to the league office has been busy, but it’s been fun. I’m just glad football’s back and I think our fans our too as they showed tonight by how many people showed up [at camp].” (On the percentage of the cap that he has to spend)
“It’s a league-wide spending percentage. Basically all of the teams in the league have to spend X amount of money this year. That’s been agreed upon between the Player’s Association and the National Football League. Again, we’re one of 32 of those clubs and I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. It never has been. I think Buccaneers fans need to rest that we’re going to continue to stick with the plan that we talked about since day one when we stepped onto the stage and had this opportunity. We’re excited about this football season and hopefully a lot of fans come out and watch practice and come out to the games and certainly the night practice that we’re going to have at the stadium in just a couple of days.”~ by Charlie Campbell and Andrew Scavelli
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