|Tuesday, February 5
Updated: February 7, 11:10 AM ET
Offer for Gruden would have been considerable
ESPN.com news services
The Bucs made an offer to the Raiders that would have, if it was accepted, given the Bucs the right to negotiate with and potentially hire Oakland coach Jon Gruden, Chris Mortensen reported late Tuesday night.
However, reports 24 hours later indicate that the Bucs have moved past Gruden and have set their sites on Ravens' defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis as the team's next head coach.
The offer for Gruden was reported to be greater than or equal to the compensation the Jets gave to the Patriots for Bill Parcells in 1997. In that move, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue brokered a deal that gave New England the Jets' third- and fourth-round draft picks in 1997, a No. 2 pick in '98 and a No. 1 pick in '99.
According to a Mortensen source, Bucs general manager Rich McKay told Davis that the team was willing to sub and/or exchange cash and a veteran player to complete the transaction.
The Raiders were believed to be seeking five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Warren Sapp as part of the deal, according to numerous published reports. Oakland might lose its Pro Bowl tackle, Darrell Russell, who was charged last week with 25 felony counts of sexual assault. Russell is already suspended from the league.
Raiders owner Al Davis had not spoken with Bucs general manager Rich McKay since Monday, Mortensen reported, although it's possible the two did speak late Tuesday night.
The Raiders denied any negotiations are taking place.
"There is nothing going on," Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday. "It is our understanding that they have already hired a coach and it's not Jon."
Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown told ESPN he has spoken with Gruden, Davis and Raiders executive Bruce Allen and had been assured that Gruden would definitely be with the Raiders in 2002. Brown said he would have to check back on the situation.
According to Mortensen's source, a Wednesday deadline was imposed to get the deal done. If the deal is not completed by Wednesday, Lewis is believed to be the Buccaneers' top candidate, provided that Lewis can assemble a quality offensive staff quickly.
Lewis, 43, interviewed last week near Atlanta with Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay, and the session is said to have gone well. Lewis was a candidate in 2000 for the Buffalo Bills job and earlier this month for the Carolina Panthers' vacancy.
The Washington Redskins would also like to talk to Lewis regarding their defensive coordinator position, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
However, the St. Petersberg Times reported Monday that Bucs vice presidents Joel and Bryan Glazer disagree with McKay's choice to hire Lewis because the Glazers fear the team will take a step backward with another defensive-minded coach.
The Glazers, according to the Times, want the club to continue to pursue Gruden. They also might want to talk to Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith and Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Gruden has one year remaining on his contract and said he would not coach in Oakland beyond next season.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Lewis has not heard back yet from the Bucs one way or the other.
"I don't know if I have the job yet or not. They're still in the process of doing what they need to do there," Lewis said from the Ravens' offices in Owings Mills, Md., where he was working Monday.
The Bucs remained silent on their coaching situation Tuesday, declining to answer questions about the team's interest in Gruden.
ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.