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Friday, July 29, 2011
Bucs sticking with long-term plan

By Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- For all those Tampa Bay Buccanneers fans who keep wondering when the Bucs are going to start that free-agent spending frenzy, here’s a news flash. It’s probably not happening.

Although the Bucs admit they’re still looking at some free agents, don’t expect a bunch of huge signings. Maybe one or two big ones or maybe not. Or maybe several mid-level ones.

But a major influx of players is not part of the plan, general manager Mark Dominik said after Friday night’s practice.

“We’re sticking with our plan of how we want to put this thing together and be a long-term contender,’’ Dominik said. “The important thing for me, the important thing for coach [Raheem] Morris and for the ownership is to keep the continuity together.’’

The Bucs have been doing that. They re-signed guard Davin Joseph. They also have kept tackle Jeremy Trueblood and linebacker Quincy Black. Some other free agents, such as Cadillac Williams, still could return.

“There’s been some great big deals out there and Davin’s a part of that, but at the same time point, we look at our football team and make sure that we are budgeting correctly to make sure the guys that are on our football team don’t become free agents one day,’’ Dominik said.

That’s a philosophy that differs sharply from the previous regime of coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen, who often brought in veteran free agents and had little success in the draft. But Dominik’s statements should make fans think back to the 1990s, when general manager Rich McKay and coach Tony Dungy followed a philosophy of drafting players, developing a core and keeping the key players for the long term. That seems to be the plan Dominik and Morris are following.

“We all fell in love back in the 90s with that group of guys and we’d like to keep doing that,’’ Dominik said. “We see the contracts that are going around the National Football League right now, you’ve got to budget accordingly today to make sure you can take care of your team tomorrow and that’s what we’re doing.’’