Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson has not been in attendance at the team’s OTAs this week, and according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Dotson’s absence is contract-related. The veteran offensive lineman is seeking a new contract, and the two sides are engaged in contract negotiations, per Auman.
While the Buccaneers have struggled to find a reliable left tackle in recent years, they have received steady production on the right side from Dotson, who has started all but one game for the team since the start of the 2012 season. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Dotson has recorded a positive grade in each of the last three seasons, and ranked 28th out of 84 qualified tackles in 2014.
Dotson’s solid play has come at a discount for the Buccaneers, who have paid the 29-year-old only $5MM over his last three seasons. Dotson is set to get a pay bump to $2.5MM in 2015, but that’s still well below what other reliable starting right tackles are earning.
Dotson may be deserving of a raise, but as Auman observes, the Bucs may also be reluctant to give too much ground. After all, the Southern Mississippi product still has two seasons left on his contract, and giving him a significant raise would send a message to the rest of the team that holding out from voluntary workouts is an effective negotiating tactic. Still, it sounds like GM Jason Licht and the front office have been in touch with Dotson’s agent, so perhaps a compromise can be reached before the tackle’s holdout stretches into the summer.