With not a lot of wiggle room this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could re-tool their strategy and build around a young quarterback of the future now.
The Bucs have some serious salary cap issues to address heading into the 2023 regular season. Tom Brady will count as $35 million on the books even though he retired from the NFL, and Tampa Bay is already roughly $55 million over the cap.
Not great, Bob.
It is what it is, but the point is that money won’t be going toward paying another player’s contract.
There are multiple ways to build a roster, and doing so around a rookie QB is an interesting one I’ve been fascinated by lately. Right now Kyle Trask is the only quarterback under contract which means the Bucs could use this strategy with him or go the route of:
- Draft a QB on a rookie contract.
- Use the rest of the salary cap to build the O-line, D-line, receiving corp, linebackers, defensive backs, backfield, and special teams.
Seems pretty simple, right?
You can use the salary cap to build a talented roster, while the rookie quarterback contract doesn’t take a huge percentage of the salary cap — which oftentimes goes toward the QB position. This way the roster is full of playmakers and has a lot of depth that can help a young quarterback win games, develop as a starter, and take a team deep into the postseason.
This strategy is what the LA Rams went with a few years back, and the strategy got the team to Super Bowl LIII. The Philadelphia Eagles used this strategy this past season and played in Super Bowl LVII. The Kansas City Chiefs had a similar strategy when Patrick Mahomes was on a rookie contract, which resulted in trips to either the AFC Championship Game or the Super Bowl in each of his seasons as a starter.
A young QB allows for other draft capital to be used as trade assets
Another strategy is to trade draft picks to acquire free agents to fill out needs in the roster. Similar to what the LA Rams did two seasons ago. Acquiring Von Miller, Matthew Stafford, and Jalen Ramsey a season prior. Basically trading the draft picks to go all in to win a championship. That strategy paid off for the LA Rams.
With the Buccaneer’s cap situation what it is, and the amount of talent still under contract. First, let me say I trust GM Jason Licht. The GM has built a championship roster and championship contenders in recent seasons. The cap hit from Brady should be endured this season. Get it over with. Don’t trade the future for a win-now situation with a third year QB that has barely played in the NFL. Continue to draft well, and develop talent. It’s the Buc’s way, historically.
My hope is the keys to the offense are given to Kyle Trask, to see if he is the franchise QB. Trask is a talented QB. Fill out the other positions, especially sure up the O-line. See what the young quarterback can do, for a season, while making sure the rest of the roster is solid. No reason the Bucs can’t win a third straight NFC South title with that formula.
If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but take advantage of a rookie QB deal that doesn’t eat at 15 percent or more of a teams’ salary cap.