Antoine Winfield Jr. contract extension: 3 things that happen next for Buccaneers

What comes next after the Bucs made Antoine Winfield Jr. the highest-paid defensive back ever?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Antoine Winfield Jr.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Antoine Winfield Jr. / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers smartly made Antoine Winfield Jr. the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history. Winfield is the best safety in the league and is worth every penny.

It places a bow on a successful offseason for the Buccaneers.

The team began the offseason with uncertainty over the futures of Winfield, Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans—they are all back. Graham Barton was the Buccaneers' top target in the draft, and he fell to them with the No. 26 pick in the first round.

But what's next? The work for general manager Jason Licht continues.

Moves Buccaneers must make after Antoine Winfield Jr. extension

1. Extend Tristan Wirfs

With the Winfield extension finalized, the attention shifts to superstar left tackle Tristan Wirfs. The former first-round pick has experience at both tackle positions and has earned three Pro Bowl and two All-Pro honors in his first four seasons in the league.

The Buccaneers picked up Wirfs' fifth-year option this offseason, ensuring he remains under contract through the 2025 season. However, with the Winfield extension done, it's time to make Wirfs one of the highest-paid tackles in the league.

2. Sign draft class

An added bonus of giving Winfield Jr. a long-term deal is the cap relief it gives the Buccaneers in the short term. Tampa Bay needed to clear space to sign its rookie class, but that's no longer an issue.

While on the franchise tag, Winfield Jr. had a cap hit of $17.12 million. According to Greg Auman of FOX Sports, that number is now reduced to around $7 million, giving the Buccaneers plenty of flexibility.

They can now comfortably sign their rookie class and make any other necessary moves in free agency.

3. Add a veteran cornerback

On the note of free agency, the Buccaneers should consider adding a veteran cornerback. While not a desperate need, Tampa Bay surprisingly didn't address the position in the NFL Draft after trading Carlton Davis III to the Detroit Lions. While they expect safety Tykee Smith to play snaps as the slot corner, the Bucs would benefit from adding to the room.

There's plenty of talent remaining in free agency, including Stephon Gilmore and Steven Nelson. Either player could strengthen the Bucs' cornerback depth on an affordable one-year deal.

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