5 moves Buccaneers need to make after salary cap increase

Now that the salary cap has gone up, the Buccaneers have some room to make a few big moves.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Pay Baker Mayfield

It’s not really a matter of whether or not the Bucs pay Baker Mayfield, it’s how much will bringing him back cost?

With the increased salary cap, Tampa Bay can have some flexibility when it comes to paying him what he’s due after the season he had. The $6 million the team ended up paying for him was arguably the best value in the league and it’s a blueprint that other teams are starting to follow. Denver, for example, is trying to get out from under Russell Wilson’s contract and its willingness to eat tons of dead money and not feel like it will force the team to take a step back is rooted in what Jason Licht pulled off last year with Baker.

Now comes the part where the trial version needs to be properly paid for.

Early speculation had Baker’s contract in the $100 million range, which feels about right even if it doesn’t initially reach that level. Something in the neighborhood of three-years, $75 million feels like a perfect meeting in the middle as Baker will get paid a fat new contract while the Bucs don’t handcuff themselves and prevent other moves from being made.

Baker has already insinuated that he might take less money if it means getting Mike Evans back, but the extra cap space might mean he doesn’t have to comprise as much as before. The bottom line is, much like Evans, the Bucs have zero excuse for not paying Baker fair value but have a little extra wiggle room to make it happen.