|Friday, February 15
Updated: February 18, 12:21 PM ET
Price tag to lure Mariucci could it $6 million a year
San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci flew to Southern California early Sunday to meet with Joel and Bryan Glazer to discuss the Buccaneers' head coach and general manager positions, ESPN.com John Clayton reported.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN says the price tag to lure the 49ers coach to Tampa Bay could reach or exceed $42 million over seven years, according to league sources familiar with negotiations.
The $6 million annual bonanza is only one of several issues for Mariucci, who is coveted by the Bucs to become their new coach and general manager. At $6 million annually, Mariucci would shatter the $5 million salary Redskins owner Daniel Snyder gave Steve Spurrier last month. However, Spurrier is the coach only, without any GM or personnel authority.
Tampa Bay's month-long search for a coach headed in yet another direction Friday when the Buccaneers received permission to talk to Mariucci.
The sons of Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer are interested in hiring Mariucci as coach and GM, dual responsibilities that haven't been offered to previous candidates.
Mariucci has two years remaining on his contract as San Francisco's coach, meaning Tampa Bay would have to work out a trade that could involve draft choices, players, cash or a combination of the three.
The Tampa Tribune reported Saturday that an unnamed source close to the situation said, "The compensation issue has already been worked out. To get permission, the issue of compensation had to be worked out first."
The compensation package is believed to be similar to that given the Patriots when Bill Parcells left New England for the New York Jets in 1997. That package, ordered by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, awarded the Patriots a first-round draft choice in 1997, a second-round choice in 1998 and a third- and fourth-round choice in 1999.
"We gave Steve permission to go and talk to Tampa Bay because this is an opportunity that is unique," 49ers general manager Terry Donahue said. "If it had just been for a head coaching position, my own personal belief, is that we would not have granted that position."
The Bucs have been without a coach since firing Tony Dungy on Jan. 14. The need for a general manager is the result of the way the Glazers have conducted for his successor.
Tampa Bay officials had no comment on the latest development, other than to confirm that Joel and Bryan Glazer will meet with Mariucci at an undisclosed location in the next "couple of days."
Mariucci is at least the eighth candidate the Glazers have approached in the past month.
Bill Parcells turned down an offer to come out of retirement, general manager Rich McKay made an unsuccessful bid to lure Jon Gruden from the Oakland Raiders, and the Glazers vetoed McKay's plan to hire former Baltimore assistant Marvin Lewis last week.
McKay, who also interviewed Louisiana State's Nick Saban, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and former Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, was infuriated by the decision to not give the job to Lewis.
The embattled general manager interviewed Thursday for the Atlanta Falcons' GM job, and the Bucs' interest in Mariucci all but assures McKay will not remain with the team.
The Glazers resumed the coaching search this week without input from McKay, meeting with Maryland's Ralph Friedgen, who withdrew his name from consideration the following day.
Joel Glazer contacted the 49ers on Thursday night and Mariucci received permission to talk to the Bucs after meeting Friday with Donahue and 49er owners John and Denise York.
"I spoke with (49ers director) John (York) again this morning and I visited with Steve at which time he expressed to me, because of the magnitude of the job, because this is an enormous opportunity to be a general manager, that he would like the opportunity to discuss it with them," Donahue said.
"Steve has done an outstanding job here for us. We would like him to stay as our coach," Donahue said. "I think that Steve's success is going to cause this kind of reaction and interest from other people, both now and in the future."
Donahue said he expects Mariucci to make a decision about his future early next week.
Mariucci, 46, has a 47-36 record, including 2-3 in the postseason, as coach of the 49ers. They went 12-4 this season, making the playoffs but losing in the first round to the Green Bay Packers.
Notre Dame approached Mariucci last month about becoming the coach of the Fighting Irish.
"I'm going to stay here," he said at the time. "I'm a 49er, and that's that."
The Bucs made the playoffs four of the past five seasons under Dungy, however the Glazers were unhappy with the team's inability to advance beyond the first round the last two years.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.