4 pending 2024 free agents Buccaneers fans should worry about losing

  • Tampa Bay is projected to have $28M in cap space next offseason
  • Bucs will have the 15th-worst cap situation in the league
  • Tristan Wirfs is projected for a $30M AAV contract
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Antoine Winfield Jr., S

The Bucs have another player from the 2020 draft class due for a pretty sizable extension.

Antoine Winfield Jr is a premium player at a premium position and one of the most important players the team has on its roster. If we're envisioning what the core of the Bucs looks like in a few years, Winfield is very much near the center alongside Wirfs and the Bucs can't afford to let him get away.

Given how important a player he is, Winfield hitting the open market would be bad news for the Bucs. He's already a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner and is only beginning to enter his prime. Teams will prioritize signing Winfield if Tampa Bay doesn't, which is why he absolutely cannot be allowed to hit free agency.

The question is what could the Bucs give Winfield to get a deal done?

PFF projects that Winfield is in line for a four-year, $72 million deal with around $40 million guaranteed. That sort of deal would make Winfield the third highest-paid safety in the league with an $18 million AAV -- which is a lot.

He's worth every penny, but this is more about the Bucs getting a deal done before other teams get a chance to have a say. It cannot be overstated how coveted Winfield will be if he hits the open market, and that's a pretty upsetting thought to think about.