Leo's Late Hits

February 19 - Buccaneer Magazine managing editor Leo Haggerty gives his take on Tampa Bay's new head coach Jon Gruden and takes a close look at what the Buccaneers gave to the Raiders in exchange from his services .

Is the coaching merry-go-round over?

I hate to burst your bubble but don't be surprised if San Francisco head coach Steve Mariucci is with another team before the 2002 draft in April. According to my sources the main reason that the 49ers head honcho didn't accept the dual position of head coach and general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was that it entailed relocating approximately 3,000 across the country. His wife and family, especially his son who is a senior in high school as well as a Division 1-A football prospect as a quarterback, weren't really keen on that proposition no matter how much money was involved. Now the price of poker has changed. Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has two number one picks and two number two picks over the next three drafts plus eight million dead presidents to deal with he could make a call across the bay to the 49ers. It's common knowledge around the National Football League that the rift between Mariucci and special consultant Bill Walsh and general manager Terry Donahue is at Grand Canyon proportions. Mariucci doesn't like the fact that Walsh and Donahue are "looking over his shoulder" and Walsh doesn't feel that Mariucci respects his opinion. Everyone on the Left Coast knows that Bill Walsh invented football and the former 49ers head coach will be the first to expound on that statement to anybody who will listen. Davis can deal one of his first round picks along with one of the second round choices plus between two and four million dollars could lure Mariucci across the bay to the Silver and Black. That wouldn't require picking up and moving his family completely across the country. In fact all it calls for is a commute by Mariucci across the Bay Bridge. Plus both parties know what the going rate is for a head coach thanks to the Bucs.

What do the Bucs need to do to make up for the lost draft picks?

The Pewter Pirates only have two options. The first is to try and get some compensation from the team that wants to hire Rich McKay. Obviously, the Tampa Bay general manager has outlived his usefulness to the Glazers and it's time for him to move on. The Buccaneers will be hoping to get one or possible two draft picks in return for agreeing to the divorce. The second way is to trade a player for multiple draft picks. This is not the easiest thing to do because of the salary cap ramifications. It has to be the right player in that he has to be at the end of his contract as well as a player who will command a high price in terms of draft choices. That would mean multiple picks with at least one being a number one.

Which Buccaneer would bring Tampa Bay the most value as trade bait?

The answer is easy but the scenario is not. The member of the Bucs that would bring the most to Tampa Bay on the trade market would be defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Big No. 99 could command as high as two number one draft choices at best and a number one and a number three pick at worst. Even coming off a sub-par year by his standards the University of Miami alumni still is one of the top four defensive tackles in the National Football League. Don't be surprised if the Indianapolis Colts, with former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy now at the helm, drop a phone call to Tampa Bay to check on the availability of Sapp.


Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/BucMag.com

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