The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to a multi-year deal. Kiffin, who has presided over the defense since joining the team in 1996, has been the architect of the Tampa 2 zone defense that the Buccaneers have used as their primary scheme during his tenure.
A speculative report in Friday’s St. Petersburg Times erroneously suggested that the Buccaneers had lowballed Kiffin, 67, with an offer that would pay him less than the $1.7 million average he has earned since signing his latest deal in 2005, which was a three-year contract. ESPN.com, which first broke the story, has reported that the new deal will pay Kiffin in the area of $2 million per year.
“We are pleased to announce that our three coordinators have signed extensions to remain with the Buccaneers,” said Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen. “This unprecedented consistency is a tribute to the organization and our coaches.”
Kiffin’s defense finished second in the NFL in 2007 in points allowed, rebounding from a dismal showing in 2006 in which the unit ranked 17th in the league. Kiffin’s defenses have finished with the No. 1 ranking on two occasions in Tampa Bay, most recently in 2005 and also in 2002, the year in which Tampa Bay won Super Bowl XXXVII. Of his 12 years in Tampa Bay, Kiffin’s defenses have been ranked in the top 10 in 10 of those seasons.
Tampa Bay’s defense was retooled this past offseason with a youth movement as the Bucs drafted a defensive player in every round of the draft last April, including first-round pick defensive end Gaines Adams, the first time that had been done in franchise history.
Unconfirmed rumors had Kiffin possibly joining his son, Lane, who is the head coach of the Raiders, out in Oakland in 2008, and there were also insinuations that Kiffin might join good friend Pete Carroll, the head coach at USC, as the defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, but Carroll declined Atlanta’s overtures.
ESPN.com also reported that the Washington Redskins had discussed the possibility of hiring Kiffin as the team’s defensive coordinator. But in the end, Kiffin decided to stay in Tampa Bay where he has enjoyed a good working relationship with head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen.
Although terms of the extension are not currently available, the deal would likely be a two- or three-year contract. PewterReport.com had reported on Thursday, January 17 that assistant coaches Bill Muir (offensive coordinator-offensive line coach), Rich Bisaccia (special teams coordinator) and Richard Mann (receivers coach) had re-signed for three years, so it would make sense for the Buccaneers to have Kiffin’s contract sync up with those coaches.
Now that Kiffin has been re-signed, Allen will turn his attention to the remaining unsigned assistant coaches, including quarterbacks coach Paul Hackett, senior assistant offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and assistant defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake. As PewterReport.com first reported on Thursday, Lake interviewed with the Detroit Lions yesterday.
After the assistant coaches are re-signed, it is believed that the Glazers will offer contract extensions to both Gruden and Allen as a reward for winning the team's second NFC South title in three years. The Bucs finished 2007 with a 9-8 record, including an NFC Wild Card playoff loss to the New York Giants, a year after finishing 4-12 in 2006.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 spent six years 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: email@example.com