The Status Of Bruce Carter

January 30th, 2016
Will Bruce Carter be a salary cap causality? (Photo courtesy of

Will LB Bruce Carter be a salary cap causality? (Photo courtesy of

Last year, a shining example of how well the Bucs have drafted under the guidance of AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht is what happened on Day 3 of the draft.

The Bucs picked up a middle linebacker from LSU that appeared to be good depth and, maybe, down the road he could start. Turned out, Alexander was a force and appears (though it’s early) to be one of the best draft steals in franchise history.

The Bucs didn’t plan for Alexander to start. They signed Bruce Carter to start at middle linebacker. Carter didn’t under-perform as much as Alexander blew up and forced his way into the starting role.

Later in the season, when Alexander served a four-game suspension for using a banned substance in training camp, Carter, when healthy, played OK if not good.

But as Jeff Smith of FOX Sports points out, Carter is now a luxury the Bucs can’t afford.

Fans were hoping that the 27-year-old linebacker would be able to come in and be a force next to Lavonte David. While the Buccaneers were fortunate enough to find a stud linebacker to pair up with David, it wasn’t Carter. Instead, it was rookie Kwon Alexander, which in turn, makes Carter’s cost unjustifiable. Through 14 games in 2015, Carter totaled 47 combined tackles with two sacks and two passes defensed.

From a contract perspective, Carter is a prime example of a player who leaves the team no decision but to part ways with him. Not only would cutting him hit the Bucs with no dead money, but it would free up $4,250,000 in cap space as well. Simply a business decision and a situation where Carter’s contract is far too much to pay a backup.

Part of the salary Smith quotes is a $750,000 roster bonus this year, per While $4 million for a backup is awfully steep, there is a conundrum for the Bucs:

Not only do the Bucs need starters on defense, they need depth. Carter provides good depth and, as of now, the Bucs are nowhere near salary cap hell. Currently, Carter is a luxury the Bucs could afford, but should they?

For Carter’s price, one would hope the Bucs could have a productive starter, a guy who can make a difference, not just a talented backup.

Time will tell if new Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith thinks Carter should be start over, say, soon-to-be free agent Danny Lansanah, who totally vanished in the final two weeks of the season.

34 Responses to “The Status Of Bruce Carter”

  1. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Isn’t this a simple business decision? The Bucs tell Carter they’re letting him go test the free agent market but they would love to keep him.

    They would then simply compete with the rest of the league to peg Carter’s actual worth. It seems to me that’s fair to both player and team.

    IE…Carter goes out and matches what the Bucs paid and the Bucs let him walk or Carter’s agent goes out and comes up with an offer of 2 million. Then the Bucs keep him.

  2. LargoBuc Says:

    Move Carter to sam. Didnt he originally play olb? Lansanah was pretty disappointing. Get your money worth out of him and draft a sam in the fifth for depth. Who knows, we may find another Kwon trying to find depth for the injury prone Bruce Carter.

  3. Bill Byrne Says:

    Bruce Carter MUST be kept along with Jackson, Mankins and Martin. Finances are not an issue but quality players certainly are and will be in 2016. Proven veterans
    provide leadership for the younger players, in the locker room and encouragement on the playing field. Just how many quality veterans do the BUCS have? Once you answer that question you will realize why Carter is important to the BUCS. The BUCS have finished last in the NFC South for the last five years, this is not the time to go cheap!!!

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    I just do not see the new coaching staff fixing every lovie mistake!! Yes they will salvage some, and coach up others that did not fit the last regime scheme because they were not hall of fame talent and pro-bowlers!!

  5. Lue0615 Says:

    Agree south you Largobuc 100%

  6. Joe Says:

    Bruce Carter MUST be kept along with Jackson, Mankins and Martin.

    Not sure Carter is a “must.” Don’t think the Bucs defense will be made or broken based on Carter.

    If Mankins retires, Pamphile will step in. He did a nice job when Mankins couldn’t go this past season.

    Jackson is coming back. That was pretty much sealed when Koetter was named head coach.

    Martin will be back.

  7. OneBuc55 Says:

    As stated earlier maybe Carter can be moved to SLB…of course he’d have to take a pay cut to stay…

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Release – Bruce Carter

    Sign Nigel Bradham !!!

  9. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    • Nigel Bradham

    • Su’a Cravens

    Upgraded Linebacker Rotation
    WLB Lavonte David | Su’a Cravens
    MLB Kwon Alexander | Jeremiah George
    SLB Nigel Bradham | Danny Lansanah

    Wired For Sound: Nigel Bradham

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    If Su’a Cravens is off the board – draft Deion Jones

  11. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Thanks for that link! I love watching the game focused on one player with him mic’d up. Give you an entirely different perspective and appreciation of what is going on out there!

    And yeah based on that KC game Bradham looks pretty stout. I noticed the difference in how some players need to motivate themselves….Spikes seemed to played like a crazed wild man…borderline insane….I get that…Richard Sherman plays crazy too and as we saw in the infamous post game interview it takes awhile to let the adrenaline ease out of the body. If I played I have to work myself into a fevered pitch as well….every play could be your last!

    @Joe…thanks for letting that link stand…it was very entertaining.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We could keep Carter and start him at Sam….but if he was good enough to do that he should have started there this year.
    I would try to restructure him slightly…perhaps to $3mil. I don’t think he’ll get that in the open market. We have plenty of cap space to pay Jackson, Mankins & resign Martin…..and still enough to pick up two or three top quality FAs…

  13. Kevin Says:

    I would let carter go before Verner or Moore

  14. Kevin Says:

    But I like him on the team…

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    trade him back to dallas for a 6th rounder and a ham sandwich!!!

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    StPeteBucsFan Says

    U welcome brotha

    Thanks for letting the link stand – Hope that Island life is threating U well Bruddah

  17. OSUbucIdr Says:

    New poster
    I’ve seen articles saying the Bucs will keep VJ and Verner which I am fine with. I think Verner underachieved and VJ is a team leader, but Carter has to go or be cut and brought back cheaper. I understand that cap space is a luxury for us this offseason but to me this seems cut and dry.

  18. SCBucsFan Says:

    We’re in trouble if it turns out Kwon’s success was due to the PEDs or if he plays differently without Lovie at the helm.

  19. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    When they signed Bruce Carter, I said from the start…he wasn’t starting material. I was said he was not the ILB solution because if he started, he would not stay healthy all season.

    Thankfully, we got Kwon, who did very well.

    While Bruce Carter makes a great backup player…it would depend on how his salary compares to other backups…or on how much value the Bucs place on his veteran presence for Kwon. For all we know, Carter may have played a big role in how quickly Kwon developed.

    So, in my opinion, he could stay or go. It’s not like we need cap room. If we can get a backup who is just as good at a cheaper price, that’s cool.

    SCBucsFan Says
    “We’re in trouble if it turns out Kwon’s success was due to the PEDs…”

    Kwon didn’t take PEDs. He drank Red Bull. Coming into the NFL, he didn’t know Red Bull contained banned substances. He drank it during training camp. Once he found out, he stopped drinking it, but the test was already taken.

  20. Joe Says:

    We’re in trouble if it turns out Kwon’s success was due to the PEDs or if he plays differently without Lovie at the helm.

    Very, very good point. We don’t know for sure what Kwon was busted for. He claims it was an energy drink. NFL/NFLPA not allowed to disclose what the banned substance was.

  21. Pierce Says:


  22. biff barker Says:

    Forgive me for mentioning that Carter was brought in to play the old Smith’s defense.

    How he does fit into the new Smith’s scheme? Dunno yet, do we?

  23. BucPugilist Says:

    Yeah but didn’t kwon fail the test in training camp? And he was playing dominantly well after that. Kid is a beast.

  24. NonyaDamnBucsiness Says:


    Thanks for the link on Nigel Bradham. Good stuff! Dude looks like a playmaker. I would be shocked if Licht hasn’t at least sniffed in his direction. A friend of mine is a big time Bills fan. I’ll have to see what his thoughts are and what the fans think. If he is coveted, the Bills could tag him too.

  25. Buccaneers Says:

    Lansanah didn’t vanish. Multiple times i saw him running into his own players. Hopefully a new staff can have our backups better prepared.

    Notice good teams don’t cry about injury. They are able to sustain them by having their bench well prepared. Yet another element, of a long list, that this team must improve on if we wanna even think about contending.

  26. Buccaneers Says:

    He drank red bull? Are you nonserious?

    If this is indeed the case then its just another thing to blame on coaching. I find it hard to believe but if red bull is banned coaching is response sible for informing their players.

  27. Buccaneers Says:

    Obviously the coaches would love to keep the guy but it ain’t thier money. Seems like a tough sell to the owners to convince them he is worth that kind of dollar to be our backup.

  28. martinii Says:

    I agree with those who would like to take a look at several of our defensive players now under the Mike Smith regime. That certainly includes Carter and Lansanah. I think Smith is going to let the players work to their strengths not try to force square pegs into round holes

  29. Tnew Says:

    When you have as much cap space as we do, no player should be a “cap casualty”.

  30. Clw JB Says:

    Need to keep him, but at the right price- he can be had for haLf the money on his current deal. He can play Sam and compete with danny – we have a very athletic LB core , no reason to mess it up

    Notice something the Broncos did to get to the SB – RUSH THE PASSER- same thing the Bucs did…..

    Doesn’t matter who the back seven are, without an aggressive, timing altering, QB harassing rush no D works today..

  31. Alstott up the gut Says:

    Mike Smith needs to figure out what to do with Carter and Verner. I can’t see keeping either player under the current contract unless some how the new system is perfect for their games, which I doubt will happen. Restructure if necessary or get back money to spend elsewhere.

  32. godzilla13 Says:

    We are paying Bruce Carter a starters money and he is not starting. Remember he could not beat out Danny Lansanah in training camp? Yes, it would be nice to keep him for depth but that is to much cash to pay for a back-up. Everyone seems to think finance is not an issue, we have plenty of cash under the cap? Think again. There really is not that huge pot of gold available in cap money if you take the time to analyze the numbers. It is clear that Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Alterraun Verner, Gosder Cherilus, Demar Dotson, Johnthan Banks and most likely Logan Mankins are going to return? We still have 14 players who are unsigned FA’s who are not included in the estimated $47,500,000 under the cap number? Martins contract alone will be in the 7M to 9M range per year. For RFAs, they get about 1.3 Mil depending on which round they are tendered. Together (lets say minus Bowers, Jenkins and Lane) that adds up to $13 Mil if we tender the remaining 10. 13M+8M (Martins contract)=$21M+$5M (2016 rookie contracts)=$26M That makes $47.5M (under the cap) minus $26M (FA + rookie contracts)=$21.5M under the cap left. So if we do not release any of our players currently under contract we will have an estimated ONLY $21.5M under the cap. This is why we have to find players like Bruce Carter and George Johnson to cut in order to add money to the $21M under the cap or there will be no Mario Williams or Josh Norman signings.

  33. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Redbull is not banned by the NFL. So it wasnt redbull, could have been a different energy drink, but it was certainly not redbull.

    I can’t think of any over the counter beverage that would have performance enhancing drugs in it. Maybe some kind of GNC special formulated something ot another.

  34. Trubucfan22 Says:

    It would be nice if smith can use Carter. If not, buh bye. But smith has be fully behind using him, to keep his contract. 5 mil is steep for a back up. I wonder if carter can beat out lansanah in a true competition. We all know Lovie played favorites so it’s hard to judge who is truly better.