In January of 2009, newly-appointed General Manager Mark Dominik spoke of a long-term plan to rebuild the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a perennial playoff contender. That this plan returned surprisingly quick results on the field was one of the top NFL stories of 2010…but even that didn't change the long-term vision.
The franchise believes in that vision. On Monday, the team announced that it has agreed to a four-year contract extension with Dominik.
"I am appreciative of the confidence the Glazer family has in the direction of the franchise," Dominik said. "I am looking forward to working into my 20th year as a proud part of this community and organization. The mission is to continue building this team into a lasting contender and to bring championships back to the Tampa Bay area."
In January, shortly after the Buccaneers finished a 10-6 campaign that produced the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history, the team eagerly exercised a two-year option on Head Coach Raheem Morris. Dominik's deal on Monday ensures that the football leaders who established the Buccaneers' new direction will be able to build on that early success.
Dominik's extension continues a Buccaneer partnership that began in 1995. As a member of the team's player personnel department, he helped build the roster that captured the team's first Super Bowl title in 2002. Originally hired as a pro scout, Dominik's keen eye for talent led him to the role of Director of Pro Personnel before he ascended to General Manager just over two years ago.
"It's been a pleasure working with and getting to know Mark, so it's gratifying to witness his success," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer. "Mark is dedicated to delivering the winner our fans deserve."
In the two years that Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris have been at the helm, the team has undergone a major overhaul, leading to the youngest roster in the league and yet one that is still a serious playoff threat. That is a difficult combination to achieve in the NFL. In fact, in 2010 the Buccaneers became the first team since the 1970 merger to start 10 different rookies and finish with a winning record.
A good portion of that overhaul has come through the last two drafts, both overseen by Dominik. The heralded 2010 draft class produced such immediate contributors as defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, wide receivers Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, cornerback Myron Lewis, linebacker Dekoda Watson, safety Cody Grimm and fullback/defensive end Erik Lorig. The 2009 draft, highlighted by the prescient selection of franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, also brought the team such important contributors as defensive tackle Roy Miller, defensive end Kyle Moore, wide receiver Sammie Stroughter and cornerback E.J. Biggers. Of the 15 players selected during the last two drafts, all but two remain with the team and 12 have made at least one start in the past two seasons. That includes, incredibly, all five players the team has selected in the seventh and final round.
Dominik's personnel department has also excelled in collecting young talent outside of the draft, acquiring such key contributors as running back LeGarrette Blount, guards Ted Larsen and Derek Hardman, defensive end Michael Bennett, kicker Connor Barth, safety Corey Lynch and defensive tackle Al Woods.
One of Dominik's first personnel moves as the Buccaneers' general manager was the 2009 trade for tight end Kellen Winslow who has immediately produced two of the most productive seasons for a tight end in team history. Winslow already owns the franchise single-season records for receptions (77) and receiving yards (884) for a tight end. Under Dominik's direction, the team also accomplished one of its most significant signings in recent years last July with the re-signing of Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn.
The vision is in place. The plan is in place. After Monday's development, the leaders are in place, as well.