Each day, Pewter Report editors Scott Reynolds and Jim Flynn answer Bucs fans questions on the Pewter Insider message board as part of their Pewter Insider subscription.

However, Pewter Report has decided to take it to another level with a new, weekly Pewter Insider article – Buc Shots.

Each week, either Flynn or Reynolds will choose one Bucs fan’s message board topic to respond to and/or elaborate on.

In this week’s Buc Shots, Jim Flynn sounds off on message board poster 4Bucs’ take on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who is currently being investigated for illegal dog fighting in Atlanta, and former Bucs general manager Rich McKay.

"J.P. Peterson’s Take On Rich McKay" – posted on May 17 by 4Bucs
WHBO-AM 1470 afternoon host JP Peterson was asked today why it was that all we hear about is the bad character guys the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are signing, yet there is not a word about current Atlanta and former Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay condoning the heinous, disgusting lifestyle of Michael Vick.

How come there’s no mud splashed on him? Why no stories about him?

Peterson responded by saying, “Well, Vick was there before McKay got there.” The caller responded by saying, “But Vick’s disgusting lifestyle has been going on over the last five years and McKay rewarded Vick with a new, $137 million contract three years ago.”

In response to the caller, Peterson said, “Well, my sources tell me McKay didn’t have that much to do with the contract or Vick’s off-the-field activities.”

The caller responded by saying, “You mean like the contract McKay signed Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice to? Who are your sources – McKay lovers?”

At this point, the caller, that being myself, was cut off.

I believe Peterson’s sources are Tampa Tribune Bucs beat writers Roy Cummings and Ira Kaufman. Instead of taking pot shots at the Bucs front office, they could go up to Atlanta to get a real story with some meat and potatoes there, and for a change some truth.

Instead, they’ll just try to cover this up with a big wet blanket. But this story is too hot to cool down. There are too many animal lovers in the United States to let Vick get off lightly here.

I find it interesting how fast McKay is trying to distance himself from Vick. But it’s too late and too severe. His career in the NFL is finished.

Jim Flynn's response to 4Bucs' post
Interesting post, 4Bucs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal.

Vick has had his fair share of trouble over the past few years, but we still have to let the justice system run its course. An investigation certainly sounds warranted, but it’s probably a little early to find Vick guilty just yet. The evidence does seem to be mounting though.

Don’t expect the Tampa area newspapers to question McKay’s decision to sign Vick to that long-term, lucrative contract three years ago or trade away QB Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans in April.

Pewter Report became convinced that McKay was untouchable in the local media’s eyes during Tampa Bay’s struggle with the salary cap from 2001-06. While McKay wasn’t solely responsible for the cap challenges that contributed to the downfall of the Super Bowl XXXVII champions, he certainly played a part by signing players like quarterback Brad Johnson, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, defensive end Simeon Rice, defensive tackle Booger McFarland and kicker Martin Gramatica to long-term, lucrative contracts, most of which backfired on the team and held it hostage in free agency for several years.

The current Bucs front office absolutely had a role in the cap hell by signing aging veterans like tackles Todd Steussie, Derrick Deese and running back Charlie Garner to lucrative deals, too. None of these players panned out for the Bucs.

While Bucs general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden’s names have consistently been linked to Tampa Bay’s recent salary cap challenges in the local media, never once to my recollection was there ever a mention of Mckay’s name, let alone his contributions to the mess.

Pewter Report has been accused of being anti-McKay because we have been the only local media outlet to ever criticize McKay along with the current Bucs front office for the salary cap challenges the team endured after winning the Super Bowl.

However, the truth of the matter is Pewter Report sometimes comes across as anti-McKay because other local media outlets have opted to irresponsibly turn a blind eye to the mistakes he made with the Bucs, especially the ones made toward the end of his tenure in Tampa Bay. McKay is still used as a "league source" by several local media outlets and will not be critcized in the media for that reason.

ProFootballTalk.com recently pointed out how Vick and Falcons owner Arthur Blank have been coming under a lot of criticism for Vick’s alleged off-the-field problems, but McKay has miraculously kept his name out of it.

In McKay’s defense, Blank likely was the one that wanted Vick signed to his record-setting contract three years ago. Could you blame him? Number 7 was selling out The Georgia Dome and selling jerseys, so why wouldn’t the Falcons want to lock Vick up long term?

However, McKay has to take responsibility for signing Vick to the $137-million contract that now has Atlanta battling salary cap problems and Falcons fans second-guessing McKay’s decision to keep Vick and trade Schaub, many of whom felt was the better pro quarterback of the two.

If Vick turns out to be guilty in the dog fighting scandal, Atlanta might have a tough decision to make, and no, the Falcons can’t use the salary cap ramifications of releasing or trading Vick as an excuse to not pull off such a move.

Remember – it was Gruden and McKay who opted to deactivate Keyshawn Johnson just months after McKay signed Johnson to a multi-year contract extension. By eventually trading Johnson, who had become a distraction in Tampa Bay’s locker room and no longer wanted to play for Gruden, to Dallas in exchange for WR Joey Galloway, the Bucs had to take a whopping $7 million salary cap hit in 2004.

That was a tough pill to swallow for the Bucs, who already had mounting cap issues. If McKay truly wants to separate himself from the Vick scandal, he might want to make a stand in Atlanta and send Vick packing.

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