It’s very easy to connect the dots between coaches in new locations and players they used to lead at old jobs. For instance, with Lovie Smith’s arrival in Tampa Bay, Charles Tillman and Devin Hester seemed like locks to join the Bucs, based on nothing but their connection from Lovie’s time in Chicago.
The same has been done with former Cal football players, who played under new Bucs’ offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. Center Alex Mack was initially the player “sure” to come to Tampa, but now eyes have turned to DeSean Jackson of the Eagles, who is reportedly on the trading block.
The problem with that? The Buccaneers cannot afford DeSean Jackson.
According to Over The Cap, the Buccaneers currently have just under $10 million in salary cap space, and with rookie contracts to account for, that number is really lower. Add in leaving some room for in-season signings for depth and injuries, and the Bucs are down to their last few million dollars after a free agent spending frenzy.
And if you browse over to DeSean Jackson’s page on Over the Cap, you’ll see that his cap number is almost $13 million. The math here is pretty easy.
Sure, the Buccaneers could release Jeremy Zuttah, Michael Koenen and Connor Barth to save cap room, but even then, they’d barely have enough to pay Jackson, and would be in need of a starting kicker, punter, and offensive lineman. And adding a highly paid Jackson to pair with other expensive receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson just doesn’t make a ton of sense.
This year’s draft class features plenty of wide receiver options in every round, and is one of the deepest classes at the position in recent memory. There’s no reason to ruin the team’s current salary cap situation, cut starters, and give up a draft pick to add a veteran receiver when the draft holds potential stars that come at a lower cost.