Josh Freeman

Marvin Lewis Is Cranky

October 07, 2010 at 09:43am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Briscoe splurged the extra ten bucks for the audio tour of the combine.
Marvin Lewis did his media rounds for the Tampa market yesterday and let everyone know he is not pleased with the Buccaneers signing Dezmon Briscoe to the practice squad for well-above the standard practice squad salary. NOT PLEASED ONE BIT! In fact, Briscoe makes the veteran minimum for an active rookie player on the regular roster, about 3.5 times that of practice squad players.

“When you overpay a guy on the practice squad, you create a problem in the system for teams,” scoffed Lewis. “I don’t know that teams want to set that precedent. They did with Dez. That’s not the great precedent for teams to set as we try to keep the NFL doing the things we’re trying to do as a league. It’s still a league of 32 teams and things are put together a certain way.”

Huh? What the hell is he saying again? I mean, I know he has a problem with it, but for the life of me I can’t figure out exactly what the problem is. If teams are allowed to pay practice squad players whatever they want, then that’s the rule. In fact, here’s the exact rule:

CBA Article XXXIV Section 3. Salary: Minimum salary for a practice squad player shall be $4,700 per week for the 2006-07 League Years, $5,200 per week for the 2008-10 League Years and the 2011 League Year if it is an Uncapped Year, and $5,700 per week for the 2011 League Year if it is a Capped Year and the 2012 League Year, including postseason weeks in which his Club is in the playoffs.

CBA Article XXIV Section 6(c): Practice Squad Contracts. Any Practice Squad contract Salaries shall be included in Team Salary except to the extent otherwise provided in Article XXXIV, Section 5.

The first part spells out how much the minimum salary is for a practice squad player and the second part clarifies that it must be included in the team’s salary calculations (for cap purposes, I suppose). Nothing about a maximum. If Lewis wants Briscoe that bad, he should offer him a million dollars to be on the Bengal practice squad [Update: after passing through their active roster for a week, which he would have to do by rule]. I bet he’d take it. And if Lewis doesn’t like the rule, he should be complaining about the rule itself and not the fact that the Bucs took advantage of it to land a player they really wanted.

And I hate to go all Florio on you here, but if Lewis is implying that there is some secret understanding between clubs that they will not pay practice squad players more than the minimum, the union would seem to have a clear case for collusion charges against the league. Maybe that’s why Lewis was so cryptic. Maybe “That’s not a great precedent for teams to set” is code for “I thought we all said we wouldn’t do this.” Maybe Lewis should just shut the fuck up before this turns into a thing.

Raheem Morris responded to Lewis’s remarks.

“I’m really not concerned about Marvin Lewis’ comments about how we run our organization,” said Morris. “It’s a credit to our management, and our ownership, and what we want to do and how we wanted to go get him. That’s really all there is to be said there. I heard that comment and that’s Marvin’s opinion.”

There is no need for him to say anything else. And I like the way he threw in the ownership into his comments, taking just a touch of the edge off of the cheap reputation. “Look how much we are paying our practice squad players! Hell, our groundskeeper has a solid gold house!”

Overpaying for non-rostered players like Briscoe isn’t the only unconventional move the Bucs are making with their practice squad. Because Morris has been so happy with the play of Briscoe and others on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, he has decided to bring his practice squad players on the road with the team to Cincinnati and the other road games. Traditionally, practice squad players are left behind and forced to watch the game on television.

I always thought it was weird that practice squad players didn’t get to travel with the team. I wasn’t sure if it was to save money on travel or if it was about keeping a thick line between the active roster and the practice squad, but I’m glad Raheem changed the policy. Those guys sweat just as much as anyone else six days a week. They should at least get the right to be with their team when they play instead of watching it on TV and having to endure thousands of talking baby commercials.

One Comment to “Marvin Lewis Is Cranky”

Mark S

Mark S (October 07, 2010 at 11:06am:

Sounds like Marvin thinks we signed Briscoe just to get a heads up on his offense. Nothing new there. Everybody does that.

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