Buccaneers offensive tackle Demar Dotson has hired agent Joby Branion of Vanguard Sports to represent him, according to Rand Getlin of NFL Network (on Twitter). Dotson skipped voluntary workouts with the Bucs last month as he pushed the team for a new contract.
The Buccaneers entered contract talks with Dotson’s camp this summer, aiming to secure their longest-tenured player to an extension. However, Doston’s absence from OTAs threw a wrench into things. Reportedly, negotiations were nearly complete, but they stalled due to a team policy that prohibits the negotiation of contracts with players who are absent from workouts, whether those workouts are voluntary or mandatory. Dotson showed up for those mandatory workouts later on, so that he wouldn’t “lose any money.”
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. He’s set to earn a base salary of just $2.5MM in 2015, which makes him just the 22nd-highest-paid right tackle in the NFL.
It’s possible that Dotson’s change in representation can breathe new life into talks between the two sides. At the same time, giving him a new deal could signal to other Bucs players that skipping workouts is an effective way to make noise and get a pay raise. The Bucs clearly don’t want to send that message and doing so would go against the spirit of their policy about negotiating with players who are absent from practices.