Reports indicate that the Buccaneers have reworked the contract of lineman J.R. Sweezy.
There are a lot of things that can be said about Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. One element of his job, however, that is underrated, is his ability to create team friendly contracts. No matter who the player is, he always seems to put the team in a position to get out of a contract and not put the team in a hole.
J.R. Sweezy was signed by the team as a veteran replacement for Logan Mankins. Unfortunately for the Bucs, he took much longer to recover from his surgery than anyone expected. He is finally cleared, but obviously the situation has changed. To protect the team, there is a report that Jason Licht has altered the terms of Sweezy’s contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, it now contains injury protection. Here are some of the details (per Jenna Laine):
"According to Yates, the new contract gives Sweezy more money — his base jumps from $2.5 million to $3.75 million and is fully-guaranteed — but the guarantee is only if he is cut due to an injury different from the back injury he dealt with last year. The team also included up to $1.25 million in per game roster bonuses for each game he is on the 53-man roster or on injured reserve for an injury other than the previous back injury.Yates also said that the team added injury waiver language for the deal, split salaries for the next three seasons and reduced his base salary by $1.25 million for the 2018-2020 seasons. Sweezy, however, has base salary escalators for each season of $1.25 million tied to 70 percent play time from each of the previous seasons. If he does not achieve the escalator in a season prior, he can earn that $1.25 million for the current season by playing 70 percent of the snaps."
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Licht is never satisfied with the status quo, which is a good thing. Sweezy needed an extra year to recover from his back injury. The offensive line did have a down year, and Sweezy was expected to provide a veteran influence.
He still may, but the fact is that he is an injury concern now. If he missed time again due to his back, that would be a black mark on the Jason Licht resume. Now they have injury protection. If the back goes out again, the Bucs can get out. And if Sweezy is healthy, he gets his healthy payday.
It really is a fair solution, and a “win-win” situation for the Bucs.
Licht is a perfect match for this team. He always has his eyes on the future as well as the present. We should all be grateful he is on our side.