The Tampa Bay Buccaneers must rely on Carl Nassib and Noah Spence in 2019 with the bad news of Jason Pierre-Paul; opportunity awaits the two of them.
After the news of Tampa Bay Buccaneers leading sack lead from 2018 Jason Pierre-Paul fracturing his neck and potentially missing all of the 2019 season, two players in contract years have a huge opportunity in front of them. Not only do the Buccaneers need both Noah Spence and Carl Nassib to step up to the plate in Pierre-Paul’s absence, but they have potential earnings on the line as well.
Nassib is slated to make just over $2 million this upcoming season, and if he can put together another season like he did in 2018, he could be looking at a contract at about triple that number. However, he is staring significantly more playing time in the face this season and has the potential to see a steep increase in salary on his next contract.
Last season, after being cut by the Cleveland Browns and claimed by the Buccaneers, Nassib put together his best season yet in his third year. Nassib managed to tally six and a half sacks, more than his first two years combined, 12 tackles for loss, and 14 hits on opposing quarterbacks in a rotational role. He ranked above average and in the green with a score of 69.5 according to Pro Football Focus as well (subscription required).
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Spence, highly touted by the current coaching staff (yes, we have heard this before), has a cap hit of just under $2 million this season in the last year of his rookie deal. While he has not panned out as the pass rusher he was advertised as when he was a second round pick in 2016, all it takes is a breakout year in a contract year to see a nice payday. This opportunity is presented to Spence in 2019, but will he finally take advantage?
Thus far, three years into his career, Spence has only started six total games for the Buccaneers, and has missed time with an injury over the past two seasons; last season, he lost favor with defensive coordinator Mike Smith and did not see the field often; he graded out at a below average 49.5 according to PFF when he was on the field though. He has tallied only six and a half sacks and three tackles for loss in his career.
With Pierre-Paul potentially out the entire season, there is a starting job opposite Shaquil Barrett on the Buccaneers defense. Either Spence or Nassib will get first crack at it over rookie Anthony Nelson, but regardless, both will have plenty of opportunity to make a splash in 2019. Should they accept the challenge, then a wonderful increase in pay could be heading their way.