TAMPA – The lengthy list of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers working as network studio or game-day analysts is about to get longer.
Former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik is joining ESPN as an NFL front-office insider on several platforms, the network will announce today.
Dominik, who was fired by the Bucs in December after five years as GM, will debut on March 27 on ESPN’s NFL Insiders show. He also will contribute to NFL Live and SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and ESPN.com.
“I have spent more than 20 years working in NFL front offices and the exciting thing is that I can now share the inside thoughts of what happens when certain situations arise within an organization,’’ Dominik said. “I can explain to people how teams think.’’
Dominik, who signed a one-year contract with the network, joins an extensive group of Buccaneers alums in TV jobs, including coach Jon Gruden (ESPN), quarterback Trent Dilfer (ESPN), safety John Lynch (FOX), and coach Tony Dungy (NBC).
“A lot of people thought this might be a good decision for me in terms of career path,” Dominik said, “so I’m very excited about it.’’
As Tampa Bay’s general manager, Dominik was 28-52 with no playoff appearances and only one winning season. The Bucs were 11-21 the final two seasons with coach Greg Schiano, who also was fired.
Dominik considered accepting the assistant general manager’s job offered him by former Bucs scouting director and current Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey, but opted for the ESPN gig.
“The opportunity to stay in Tampa with my family was part of it,’’ said Dominik, who is married and has three young children. “And ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports for a reason. So, this just felt like the right decision.’’
Dominik doesn’t know if his new job will lead to a permanent career change. He still has interest in running an NFL team and is hopeful his time with ESPN will lead to another opportunity.
Dominik started his NFL career as scouting intern with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1994. He joined the Bucs a year later as a pro personnel assistant and spent 19 years with the franchise.
“Mark has almost two decades of experience moving up the ranks in an NFL organization, so he’s well-versed in scouting, free agency, player development and so many of the issues we delve into each day on NFL Insiders,” said Seth Markman, the senior coordinating producer for ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “He adds another credible voice to our team and will make us even better.”
Among the things Dominik might be asked about is the recent makeover of the Bucs team he built.
Dominik is ready.
“It’s been fun to watch,’’ Dominik said of the 10 free-agent signings by new coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht.
“I have a lot of respect for Lovie and Jason and I’m glad they’re able to do what they’ve done. That was the whole idea behind the contract structure we created and had there.’’
Dominik made a rule of signing players to contracts that relieved the team of all guaranteed financial commitments after two years, so the team could move on if it felt a need.
The Bucs entered free agency with approximately $18 million in salary cap space, an amount that more than doubled after the team released a trio of highly-paid veterans: guard Davin Joseph, cornerback Darrelle Revis and left tackle Donald Penn.
Revis’ release created $16 million in cap space, but generated criticism for the trade in which the Bucs gave their 2013 first-round draft pick and 2014 fourth-round pick to the Jets for Revis.
“We gave a player a $96-million contract, but the club had the option to walk away after a year with no salary cap implications,” Dominik said. “And we also geared the trade so that we were able to move the 2014 pick from a third-rounder to fourth-rounder if it was decided, as the team ultimately did, to move on. So, there were triggers and balances in it.
“The question now is, does Darrelle Revis just disappear and never play well again or does he continue to be a Pro Bowl player. Time will tell and the performance of the players that came in for him will be part of that conversation, as well.’’