The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving into a pivotal offseason with a limited amount of cap space. Here is a list of who should stay and who should go.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are nearing a crossroads for the future of the team. Many free agents have made cases for their staying in 2020 while others have only made the decision that much harder.
While it may appear that the Buccaneers have sufficient cap space for 2020 to bring back many players, the cap will dry up frighteningly quick. The Bucs have several players that will likely eat up almost all of the cap on their own.
Tampa Bay also has to take into account the role that these players play on the team. Free agency is never personal in the NFL, but the Buccaneers will have to make some difficult decisions.
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DE Ndamukong Suh: Walk
This one is a bit tough. Suh was in the middle of the best Bucs run defense in history. Granted, a lot of that was due to stud Vita Vea, but Suh played his part. The reason the Bucs need to let Suh walk is simply his age and the amount of money he will cost.
At 33 years old and a salary of around 9 million a year, it just doesn’t make sense to bring Suh back. I would like to see the Bucs go get a guy like Jordan Phillips. At only 27 years old and a value of $6M a year, he could be a steal for Tampa.
QB Jameis Winston: Re-sign (Tag)
This is like beating a dead horse. The Bucs should and likely will tag Winston. At 26 years old and fresh off leading the league in passing this should be a no brainer, but he threw 30 interceptions so it’s worth a second thought at the least.
OLB Shaquil Barrett: Re-sign
In this situation the cost doesn’t matter. Shaq Barrett had the best season rushing the passer in Bucs history. Not too long ago the Bucs had a run of 11 straight seasons without a 10+ sack performance. In the years 2006–2017 not a single player had 10 or more sacks.
So with that said, when you have a guy get 19.5 in ONE season, you do everything you can to keep him.
RT Demar Dotson: Walk
Demar is a tough one to let walk. He has been here in Tampa for 11 seasons and he has always been that gentle giant type of guy. He is genuine on the field and off but like the old saying goes, sports is a business. You have to limit the emotions you put into these players because it makes decisions like this one very difficult.
At 34 years old Demar had one of his worst seasons in Tampa. I would like to think the Bucs replace him through the draft and build a fresh young line led by Ali Marpet to protect Jameis.
WR Breshad Perriman: Re-sign
Keeping Perriman is going to cost the Bucs about double what he made in 2019. The results he produced in the latter half of the season while Evans and Godwin battled injuries will be his leverage.
The Bucs need to try to keep Perriman here for a few more years while they either develop Scotty Miller and Justin Watson or replace them through the draft.
The other options the Bucs have at the number 3 role are either FA Emmanuel Sanders, who will be expensive, or a player like Phillip Dorsett if they want to save money. While it’s unlikely Dorsett will produce what Perriman did, if he could at least come close he is worth taking a look at. Either way, I think the Bucs choose to resign Perriman and use him in that downfield spread role.
While these are just some of the important decisions the Bucs will have to make, head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht are very familiar with being in these situations. One name we didn’t mention was Jason Pierre-Paul, and if I was pulling the strings I would do what needs to be done to make sure JPP is back in Tampa. While most of the money Tampa will spend will go to Shaq and Jameis, all the little pieces are what makes or breaks a team.