Price is right
Raiders' Davis gets what he wants in deal for GrudenPosted: Tuesday February 19, 2002 1:27 PM
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- Al Davis never wavered on his demands, and his patience was rewarded.
The Oakland Raiders owner got his price from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for head coach Jon Gruden on Monday: four draft picks and $8 million.
"We let Jon make the decision," Davis said. "If he wanted to go, we'd let him if the Bucs were willing to pay the price."
After several weeks of dealing with Davis, Tampa Bay finally agreed to his requirements. That allowed the Bucs to talk with Gruden early Monday morning. Two hours later, Gruden was headed to home Tampa Bay. He grew up there, and his father worked for the Bucs as a running backs coach in the 1980s.
"Once we realized they were interested in Jon, I wanted the chance to talk to him and people in the organization first," Davis said. "I spoke to [Chief Executive Amy] Trask, [Senior Assistant] Bruce Allen and some of our scouts to get a feel where the draft is headed."
Oakland will have 10 picks in the first two rounds during the next three years as a result of the compensation deal, along with $8 million dollars to be paid over the next three years.
"When I spoke to Jon about his life's dreams, he said he wanted to stay in professional football," Davis said. "We were willing to let him coach one more year and take the consequences."
After the Raiders lost to the New England Patriots in the second round of the playoffs, Gruden's agent, Bob LaMonte, told reporters his client would not coach beyond the current contract, which had one year remaining.
"We didn't give that much credence at the time," Davis said. "I met with Jon and he didn't say one word on that. We offered him a contract extension during the season, but he wanted to work it out after the season."
Davis said he offered Gruden a three-year extension worth $9.5 million during the season, but Gruden wanted to focus on the team's playoff run instead of his own contract situation.
"That changed the whole territory," Davis said. "That's when we found out Tampa Bay was interested in Jon."
The Bucs initially asked for permission to speak with Gruden during Super Bowl week, but Davis turned them down.
Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay tried one last time before leaving New Orleans.
"He asked me if there was any way I would change my mind about Gruden," Davis said. "So I told him I would give him a prohibitive offer. I gave him the draft pick demands and financial demands. He said he couldn't do it then."
Joel Glazer, Tampa Bay's executive vice president, attempted to gain permission to deal with Gruden, but Davis said Glazer was not willing to accommodate the Raiders' demands.
Joel and Bryan Glazer, sons of Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer, then approached San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci. The Glazers met with Mariucci in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Mariucci said he was offered the job, and that the two sides agreed to talk later. However, that time never came.
"Joel Glazer called me at 10 p.m. and said he was close with Mariucci but wanted one more shot at Gruden," Davis said. "The deal was done by 2:30 a.m."