Antoine Winfield Jr. deal looks even better for Bucs after big salary cap update

Antoine Winfield Jr.
Antoine Winfield Jr. / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made history by signing Antoine Winfield Jr. to a massive four-year extension.

Winfield didn't just become the highest-paid defensive back in league history but also the first safety to hold that title. The Buccaneers ensured he will continue to make All-Pros in Tampa Bay and not for another team, while Winfield Jr. gets the long-term security that comes with a multi-year deal.

The good news doesn't end there, either.

Tampa Bay needed to create cap space. According to Over The Cap, the team had a league-worst $332,711 before the Winfield extension. This deal helps solve that problem.

Buccaneers create cap space after Antoine Winfield Jr. extension

One significant benefit of working out a long-term deal is that Winfield Jr. does not have to play on the franchise tag. The Bucs would've had to pay a one-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $17.12 million. With a multi-year extension, they can structure the deal to lower his cap hit this season.

According to Greg Auman of FOX Sports, Winfield's cap hit is expected to be lowered to around $7 million, which is about $10 million less than the franchise tag number.

That works.

The Bucs can use the additional cap space to sign the rest of their rookie class, including first-round pick Graham Barton. It also gives Tampa Bay enough flexibility to make any other moves it needs to in the months ahead.

A deal with Winfield Jr. was always expected this offseason. Both sides had interest in getting an extension over the line, and the Buccaneers didn't want it to drag out over the summer—or into Jason Licht's vacation, as he told The Pat McAfee Show.

The Bucs' All-Pro safety is under contract for four more seasons, which creates a more comfortable cap situation this year.

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