With NFL free agency approaching, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are turning to the trade block to continue clearing cap space.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare an offseason plan, the solution to their salary cap predicament involves more than just cutting or restructuring player deals. It now appears that the front office has turned to the trade block to try and find some cap relief, with a former trade target now finding himself on the chopping block.
Well, technically the trade block but same deal because Shaq Mason’s days in Tampa Bay appear to be numbered no matter which way you slice it.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Buccaneers are shopping Mason on the trade block ahead of the new league year starting on March 15th.
If he’s moved, the team will save almost $10 million in cap space.
“The Bucs are exploring trade possibilities with guard Shaq Mason, per sources,” Fowler reported. “With a $9.6M cap hit, Mason could become a cap casualty for the cap-strapped Bucs. A quality guard appears ready to enter the market.
What happens if Buccaneers trade Shaq Mason?
For starters, the team saves some much-needed cap space by moving Mason elsewhere. Getting $9.6 million back this offseason goes a long way in alleviating some salary cap-related stress, but it does create another hole on the roster that will need to be filled.
Moving Mason means vacating a starting guard position. Furthermore, it essentially guts the right side of the offensive line as it was last year, with Tristan Wirfs expected to move over to left tackle to replace Donovan Smith.
The Bucs will likely look at the draft to replace Mason if he’s traded, or perhaps try to find a bargain bin free agent to provide some depth. If a trade goes down, it would leave John Molchon as the only right guard on the depth chart, and with Josh Wells expected to hit free agency the team would be essentially barren on the right side.
Still, such a thing goes to highlight how brutal the Bucs salary cap situation is this offseason as the team is needing to go to drastic measures to find money and get back under the cap. That’s what happens when the bill comes due for going all-in on winning a Super Bowl each of the last three years.