An updated look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers salary cap situation

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ salary cap situation is a bit murky right now after the extension of Donovan Smith; can they still be big spenders in free agency?

The salary cap situation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneer is getting a little slim after the three-year, $41.25 million extension of left tackle Donovan Smith; entering into the 2019 season, Smith will carry a cap hit of $12.5 million. The Bucs also re-signed linebacker Devante Bond to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $720,000.

According to Spotrac, the Buccaneers are left with just a little over $1.7 million in cap space entering into the offseason once dead money, rollover cap, and draft pool money are taken into consideration. Not a lot of money to blow for a team that has big plans to improve their roster this offseason.

It has been reported that the Bucs have “serious interest” in Tyrann Mathieu, who is looking for about $24 million in the first two years of his next deal, and are hopeful to re-sign linebacker Kwon Alexander and wide receiver Adam Humphries.

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Tampa Bay does, however, have a lot of dead weight that can be dispensed this offseason in order to clear up enough capital to make big moves in free agency. It started with Vinny Curry, and the Bucs have plenty of more vets either underachieving or in their 30s that could be next.

Let’s start with the players who have had the most rumors swirling around them, Gerald McCoy and DeSean Jackson. If both of these veterans get a one way ticket out of Tampa Bay, that alone will clear up $23 million more in space for the Buccaneers to spend in free agency.

Other players that are likely to get the boot out of the Bay are defensive lineman Mitch Unrein, Beau Allen, and William Gholston; these three defensive linemen carry a cap weight of $12.5 million total.

The Bucs could go even further in their cuts by including punter Bryan Anger and Demar Dotson in their plans to gain more cap flexibility; Dotson covers a cap hit of about $4.8 million, Anger a hit of $3 million.

If the Bucs were to move on from every player mentioned, Tampa Bay would see a boost in their cap spending from $1.7 million to a whopping $45 million to spend this offseason, giving them plenty of money to blow on targets like Mathieu and to pay Alexander.

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While Cameron Brate remains a long shot to be shown the exit by the Buccaneers, he could be traded to a tight end needy team as Tampa Bay still has budding star O.J. Howard on their roster. If Brate were moved this offseason, then Tampa Bay would see that number in cap room go up an additional $7 million, equaling $52 million to spend.

It is unlikely that the Bucs will move all of the players mentioned, if they decided to keep McCoy and Brate and cut bait with the rest of them, Jason Licht would still have $35 million to spend in free agency.

Jackson, Allen, Gholston, Unrein, and Anger remain a safe bet to be released by the Buccaneers, while McCoy, Dotson, and Brate could realistically be back in Tampa Bay in 2019. Even if just the four mentioned above were cut, the Bucs would see their cap space jump to $24.2 million.

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While Tampa Bay has no money to spend right now, Licht has plenty of options to clear space in order to retain Alexander, pursue Mathieu, and even add a few more players on bargain deals. There is no need to worry about a lack of funds this offseason.