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The slow pace of negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the potential of a lockout that could linger well into 2011, has led the Buccaneers to put off taking steps to keep their coaching staff and front office intact for next season, we hear.
GM Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris have overseen a remarkable turnaround since they were hired to their current positions before the 2009 season. They helped turn Tampa Bay into a playoff contender after a 3-13 finish in their first year on the job, and Morris is being mentioned as a Coach of the Year candidate.
Dominik and Morris have options on their contracts for 2011, but the Bucs have not picked up the options.
The Glazers, who own the team, are not rushing to make those commitments since it's not certain there will be a 2011 season. If and when the owners and the players' union agree to a new CBA — the current one expires on March 3 — it would be no surprise if Dominik and Morris get rewarded with contract extensions that keep them in place beyond ’11.
While the general manager and head coach are on firm footing, it was recently reported that many assistants and members of the front-office staff are feeling far less secure, as they have contracts that will expire in the coming offseason. Some are apparently considering leaving the NFL to take college jobs.
Several members of Morris' coaching staff have deals that will expire in the offseason, including offensive coordinator Greg Olson and special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia. If the coaches with expiring contracts wait, hoping the Bucs will eventually come forward with new deals, they risk losing chances at openings elsewhere in the NFL and in the college ranks, which will be filled soon.
Several head-coaching changes and, in turn, a good deal of staff turnover are expected after the season. That, coupled with the CBA uncertainty keeping other teams' coaches from having their contracts extended, has staffs around the league contemplating their next moves.
It's known that Dominik and Morris want to establish continuity on their staffs, however, and they would rather not see some of the people who played significant roles in developing the young talent on the roster depart in the offseason. A staff shake-up may be something the young corps of players will have to overcome following a surprisingly successful 2010 season.