Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Updated look at the salary cap after free agency

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

After a flurry of free agent signings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ salary cap situation is a bit tight; here is an updated look at the financial numbers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been busy during free agents, adding free agents at a cost effective rate in order to improve a roster and look to compete for a NFC South division title in 2019. Bringing in the likes of Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Shaquil Barrett, the Buccaneers have added players that they expect to be significant contributors this season.

The details of their latest signing, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s deal have been released; the journeyman and former first round pick comes to Tampa Bay on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Of that amount of money, only his $500,000 signing bonus is guaranteed, meaning that the Buccaneers could get $1 million of his salary back if Gabbert does not make the roster.

After the Gabbert signing, the Buccaneers now sit with only a little less than $1.25 million in cap space. Rumor has it, Tampa Bay has offered veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne a veteran minimum deal, which would come in at under $1 million and that he turned it down because he did not think he was being compensated well enough; the Buccaneers do not have much room to offer him much more than that. However, plenty of cap space can still be cleared, beginning with Gerald McCoy.

More from The Pewter Plank

Moving McCoy either via trade or by cutting him would clear the entire $13 million of his salary as he is owed no more guaranteed money in 2019. As his future begins to look murkier by the minute, it seems that the Buccaneers will have a large amount of additional cap space any day now. Other options also exist to gain some spending flexibility on top of moving on from McCoy.

Second-string tight end Cameron Brate is owed a massive $7 million in 2019, quite a large number for a second tight end on the roster. The Buccaneers would be forced to eat his salary in dead money if he is cut, however if he is traded, then they would see a relief of the full amount of his salary. A team like the New England Patriots could be in the market for a starting caliber tight end after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.

Other players that could be on the chopping block for the Buccaneers include William Gholston, who carries a $3.75 million cap hit, who carried no more dead money on his deal. Evan Smith and his $2 million cap hit is also expendable if he gets his injury designation removed.

McCoy and Brate combined carry a $20 million cap hit that could be expendable, while Gholston and Smith carry a $5.75 million cap hit in total. Even if Tampa Bay decides to keep Brate and move on from the other three, they could still see an increase to around $20 million in cap space once adding in their current cap situation. If every player mentioned if moved on from, then the team would see his or her cap space skyrocket to $27 million.

Next. Buccaneers: 7-round mock draft to end the week. dark

While the Buccaneers do not currently have much money to play around with, they could see that number take a big jump with just a handful of moves. With holes to fill on their defense and rumors swirling around McCoy, do not be shocked to see general manager Jason Licht make a flurry of moves in the coming weeks leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft.