Big Cap Space Got Bigger

December 29th, 2016

Making it rain.

The Bucs may not be atop the NFC South, but they currently lead the league in something rather interesting.

As a result of everyone’s favorite Muscle Hamster, Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, getting popped for a (wrong) performance-enhancing drug, his $7 million guaranteed salary for 2017 is off the books. Voided.

What does that mean? Well, if you believe the salary cap-based site, the Bucs now are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL next season with $67,943,939 of Team Glazer available loot. Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht can shop till he drops with when the free agency dinner bell rings at 4 p.m. March 9.

And like walking into a clothing optional establishment with a fistful of singles (so Joe is told), Licht will be very popular with player agents this winter knowing he has money to burn.

That salary cap cash could grow larger.

Per the same site, Alterraun Verner is projected to be the fourth-highest paid Bucs player at $6.5 million, though Robert Ayers and Brent Grimes are scheduled to earn more when bonuses are factored. Joe doubts very much the Bucs retain Verner at that salary since he has not been a full-time player in two years. Verner may return, but certainly not unless he reworks his contract with Licht.

So expect that cap space to increase all the more.

There is also the chance that Even Smith’s bloated contract is a target. He is projected to be the Bucs highest-paid offensive lineman not named “J.R. Sweezy,” and the 10th-highest paid Bucs player on the roster. Like Verner, Smith hasn’t been a regular starter in two seasons.

And while Licht must keep in mind monster salary demands likely will have to be met in the not-so-distant future (Mike Evans, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander), that still leaves quite a bit of Team Glazer loot to bring shopping.

This should be a very, very, very interesting offseason.

67 Responses to “Big Cap Space Got Bigger”

  1. YeahISaidIt Says:

    I see Alshon Jeffrey, Robert Woods, Markus Wheaton, Eddie Lacy, Tony Jefferson, Kwann Short, Chandler Jones, AJ Bouye, Eric Berry as just a few names that would be able to help this team out next year. Hopefully guys see what we have going on in Tampa with the young Messiah Jameis at QB and aren’t afraid to sign with us.

  2. Ocala Says:

    I completely agree Joe
    The draft is where you build your team but GMs and fans are kidding themselves if the don’t think free agency has a large impact on your team
    If the Bucs off season included the following free agents:
    Kenny Stills WR Miami
    Alshon Jeffrey WR Chicago
    Robert Woods WR Buffalo
    Bennie Logan DT Philadelphia
    Dontari Poe DT KC
    Tony Jefferson S Arizona
    Eric Berry S KC
    Steven Gilmore CB Buffalo
    We could go into the draft going after the best available and strengthening areas like are offensive line and of course targeting a RB

  3. Bculaw Says:

    Let’s hope Jameis can factor into what is likely to be a long list of Pro Bowl “alternates” at the QB position to receive Kate invites to the pro bowl. We need him to handle the recruiting end of spending that money!!

  4. Bculaw Says:


  5. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Cocala, you have Stills too, I think he could be the speed WR we need to make this O go. Either Poe or Berry will make it to UFA, KC can not afford both. Alshon, naaa he is way to expensive and always hurt.

  6. Patrick in VA Says:

    Let’s get Adrian Peterson’s agent on the phone. Get him down here and have him give our run game the boost it needs while we’re beefing up the line with the draft and getting our WRs in place. We can take the DM money and stack a little more on top of it and you’ve suddenly upgraded from Doug Martin to Adrian Peterson. Not a bad deal, if you ask me. We don’t have to spend a high draft pick to cover holes on the line. We use the draft to stock the line and use FA to get a superstar who can mask those deficiencies while the line is coming together. Meanwhile, that makes our run game respectable, which frees up Jameis, Evans and our new WRs to get in sync.

  7. Mort Says:

    I’m so glad that the JBF commenters aren’t running the show at OBP. Eddie Lacy? Alshon Jeffrey? That would be moronic!

  8. Mort Says:

    Also don’t forget we need to re-sign a ton of players. Our punter, both safeties, Josh Robinson, Joe Harley.. all. FAs.

  9. DallasBuc Says:

    Maybe someone else should be doing talent evaluations and making the FA decisions this year. Licht has proven to be woefully incompetent in this area.

  10. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Mort – Anger and Ayers should definitely be retained, I’m not sure if another year will finally prove to be too much for Grimes. If he’s still got gas in the tank, then we should retain him as well. There should definitely be a back up plan for Grimes though. Especially since our mediocre backup, Verner, will be gone. We need to make sure that we do everything possible to keep Will Gholston around. If he wants outrageous money, then there’s not much that can be done because he’s not worth breaking the bank over, but a reasonable salary would certainly be worth giving to a solid contributor and run stopper.

  11. Philip Says:

    Maybe it is a good idea to extend evans before beckham gets his extension. Wouldnt surprise me to see odell get a record contract

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Mort, excellent point. Bucs have 32 players on the current roster, to include IR, whose contracts expire after this year ( Many, possibly even most, of those players won’t receive new contracts for various reasons I’d surmise, but I could see the Bucs re-signing 14-15 of those (maybe more depending upon what’s available in free agency). Next year’s roster will look considerably different from this year’s roster I’m guessing, with up to 6-7 new starters and a LOT better depth IF Jason Licht does a good job in drafting and signing FAs. Exciting times ahead.

  13. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Philip – no way that Evans’ agent lets him do that.

  14. AC Says:

    @MORT Eddie Lacy and Alshon are upgrade to what we have now. so not sure how that is moronic. We are going to have to take chances in some spots you really cant expect a bunch of rookies to turn the team around. We are on the brink of making the playoffs we have to go after some of those free agents.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Patrick, I suspect that Brent Grimes will be here next year, but also suspect that his replacement is already on our roster: Ryan Smith. I know he was drafted as a safety, but his experience is mostly as a CB, he’s got the height (5’11”), weight (189 lbs), speed (4.47 secs) and definitely the instincts to make an excellent NFL corner. Just needs some game-time, which I think he’ll get starting next year at nickel.

  16. Pete Mitchell Says:

    LeVeon Bell. Desaun Jackson. O-line in the draft.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    Am I the only perv who sees that picture and thinks motor-boat?!
    Stop it with Alshon Jeffries. The guy’s oft-injured, and in case you forgot, just came off of suspension. Just say “NO”!

  18. Buc50 Says:

    Le’Veon Bell…HAHA…that was my laugh for the day. No way the Steelers let him hit the market.

  19. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    THERE ARE NO 1ST RD O LINEMAN IN THIS DRAFT!!!!!!!!! Stop saying that. This line can be made good/great with a new center and the pieces we have already. This needs to be a run blocking unit. Lt- D.Smith, LG- Marpet, C-Draft, RG-Sweezy, RT-Pamphile? Free agent? Just not DOT.

  20. AC Says:

    Half of our free agents wont be back next year. And the ones that do i doubt many will break the bank on deals to return to the team

  21. Ndog Says:

    Yeah Dallas Grimes, Anger, Ayers, Brate, Rodgers, Smith, and Robinson were all horrible pick ups this year. What are you watching bro?

  22. c-spann Says:

    I not sure what people see in jeffery, he stays hurt and he is not really fast, which we need. I like stills and woods as options. plus we will have to pay evans soon as well

  23. Gencoimports Says:

    The Bucs cap space is $67 million including Martin’s 7 million. If you void it, the cap space increases to over 74 million.

  24. tmaxcon Says:


    You are not alone sir…. Motorboat is first thought that came to mind and it went down hill from there.

    Alston jeffery and lacy both miss too much time they are not upgrades if they are nursing boo boos with the fragile overpaid DT bucs have enough part time players adding Jeffrey is not the answer

  25. Patrick in VA Says:

    So, if Martin found out last week about his pending ban and he was sat out last week, wouldn’t this week mark the 2nd week that he’s been sat following the test results? Wouldn’t he just have 2 games left on his suspension? Could be an important distinction for trade purposes.

  26. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Eddie Lacy has weight problems. Too many Beans and Rice places here in Tampa.

  27. Todd Says:

    Throw big cash at Poe or berry for sure which ever one makes it to fa!!! Sign a wr for fa address the o line in the draft

  28. DB55 Says:

    Wish list

    Geno Atkins – Trade
    D. Cook

  29. BucinJAX Says:

    Ok guys, thanks for sending me to the urban dictionary again. I now hope to be motorboating at home tonight. 🙂

  30. Miko Says:

    give gholston some loot first….then WR-HB-RT-S

  31. The bucfan 88 Says:

    I I don’t the we need to go after berry personally I would love to go after a d end but my wish list

    1.Nuke Hopkins (I know this is a real long shot but there a chance)
    3.Adrian Peterson ( omg if we can get him we are golden)

    RT, TE,C,speedy noil

    If that all comes true we will make the playoffs

  32. 813bucboi Says:

    @db55…not bad….I would prefer…

    bennie logan or d.poe
    alshon Jeffery

    draft-oline, dline, wr, te, rb(d.foreman-texas), s

    I guess hope licht doesn’t sign FA’s that are injured…..GO BUCS!!!!

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    @bucfan88….what has speedy done at tamu?…..I would rather go after christain kirk….that kid can fly….GO BUCS!!!!

  34. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Patrick in VA Says
    “Let’s get Adrian Peterson’s agent on the phone.”

    You do know he’s severely injury prone, right?

    No to Peterson. Especially at his age.

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    DallasBuc Says
    “Maybe someone else should be doing talent evaluations and making the FA decisions this year. Licht has proven to be woefully incompetent in this area.”

    Ndog Says
    “Yeah Dallas Grimes, Anger, Ayers, Brate, Rodgers, Smith, and Robinson were all horrible pick ups this year.”

    I have been a Licht naysayer, but he did alright on getting talent in free agency this year.

    He still has an awful tendency to go after injury-prone players though. How many of those guys were injured this year?

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Get OLINE in Free Agency. Why? Because Jason Licht is an offensive line guru. Of all the other positions, that’s the one he should be able to find easy in FA.

    As to positions, I’m not sold that we need a center. Hawley has been battling an injury all year. That’s why he has been overwhelmed at times. If he can get healthy during the off season, he’s a great center.

    But I’m not against bringing in younger and healthier competition. I just don’t think we should write him off just yet. The man is a beast. How many times did he go down from aggravating his injury this year, yet came back in? Talk about heart! Get him healthy and Center is fixed.

    I bet he gets surgery this off season.

    The positions we really need is guard and tackle. Bolster those and the oline is fixed.

    BUT…the first pick in the draft must go to defensive line or wide receiver…preferably the first.

  37. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    GOAT these folks round here get a little caught in the success and doings of another franchise who I won’t mention but that O line right there would be nasty. Nasty I tell you. DB I’m feeling your wish list bro. Crossing my finger now homie.

  38. Waterboy Says:

    It’s too bad that with the salary cap increase for all teams there probably won’t be many decent players available in free agency. Not the premier players at least.

  39. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Spotrac has a projected 2017 salary cap at $85 million and that includes Verner’s salary. McCoy, the highest paid player on the list, could do the team a solid and allow some of his salary to be moved around to avoid a larger cap hit. It wouldn’t cost him anything. Regardless, the Bucs are in good shape, and the future is bright. I wouldn’t advise going crazy in free agency. We’ve been burned so many times by free agents coming to Tampa for a staycation. Remember when Giants DB Aaron Ross commented about how signing with Jacksonville was a “paid vacation”. Now, focus on beating the stinkin’ Panthers!

  40. Dave1971 Says:

    All I want to know is what is the story with J.R. sweezy! We need a bigger tougher O-line

  41. LakeLandBuc Says:

    It’s too early to know who will be available in free agency. A lot of these players will resign long term deals or get the franchise tag. And if teams let them walk, I wouldn’t touch them with a 50 foot pole. We should quit overpaying for trash. We should build a quality roster that has depth at every position. With our cap space, we should be able to add a lot of depth instead of chasing a few big name players who will eat up all of the cap. I rather have 53 quality players instead of a handful of big name players.

  42. LargoBuc Says:

    The Bucs are at that point where bringing in some big names could truly help the team, now that we have a foundation and an almost complete culture change.

  43. SOEbuc Says:

    Safety and DT is where we should spend big on good players. Try to find some good O line but they’re hard to get in free agency. WR round 1. CB /DE/OT round 2.

  44. DB55 Says:

    Bottom line is as much as we sucked to high he’ll this year including injuries and an offense made up of 80% udfa we are at the cusp of the PO. Pretty fkn amazing if you ask me.

    I see us taking a similar path as the raiders in year 3. But I think we need some proven Fa that want to play w LVD, Ayers and Grimes and/or the messiah and Godzilla.

    A great man once said “focus maaaan”. ” I got 99 problems but a QB ain’t 1″.

  45. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Lets stop assuming all FAs have that “I’m bout to get over on this unassuming organization” mentality. I’m quite pleased with the way Jenkins and Vernon have performed with the gmen. Both to my eye have played like they truly give a d@$! about the team that spent big money to aquire them.

  46. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    With that being said throw some bank at Eric Berry if he becomes available will you Mr. Licht.

  47. rayjay1122 Says:

    Well, free agency will be interesting. We really need to fill some holes. Build through the draft but free agents can really impact a team. You just have to have the money, an enticing situation for free agents to want to sign on and be lucky enough that the free agents are not a waste like Sweezy has been. Ayers and Grimes were solid additions for instance. and every once in a while you can get a total gem like when the Saints were able to get Drew Brees.

  48. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Its an IF but what if Sweezy is good to go in 2017??? Is their anyone here that can prove wit out a doubt he won’t be???

  49. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    I mean the Texans just had to go thru 2016 witout arguably they’re best player in Watt. Things happen I personally haven’t heard anything to suggest Sweezy won’t be ready for 2017.

  50. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Is it just me or has anybody noticed the holes on our team are finally starting to shrink.

    We’d like to improve at every position on the field but I do not believe we are as desperate as in the past. We have a decent OL that can use some work and some luck as in Sweezy coming back strong.

    Same at almost all positions. TE…WR..Safety…some real depth issues but at least we can not put a professional team on the field.

    I’m mostly from the Dirk Koetter school of thought anyway. Next year will be an entirely new team! As Koetter points out roughly half the NFL rosters turn over every year anyway.

    I just want to win Sunday in the worst way. The momentum would be great through the off season. We have some talent now…we have max cap space….we are on the way!

  51. Owlykat Says:

    Look what the Titans did with free agency this past year and almost made the playoffs too. They signed two RBs in FA that produced big time for them! Atlanta went out and got a good second receiver in FA and easily replaced their overthe hill WR star. We need to trade off the Muscle Hampster now, who could only get 3 yards a pop even with taking enhancing drugs and pick up a proven RB in FA to be our bell weather back next year with a much improved OL. Also get some reliable, strong back up DTs in FA too so we can keep our Defense rested and continuing to stop the run!

  52. Patrick in VA Says:

    @SPBF – I’ve said that a few times in other posts. It’s really encouraging to see that we don’t have to take a BPA approach to the draft anymore. In the past, we could draft just about anything because we likely needed the position upgraded. Now, we have quality players on the team and we can do a weighted approach where BPA matches with team needs.

  53. LakeLandBuc Says:

    A player must be willing to come here to play for the Bucs, it has to be more than just cashing a paycheck. If a player really want to be here, we wouldn’t have to throw dollars at them. We should sign the players who want to be here, not the players who’s signing with the highest bidder.

  54. Bucamania Says:

    You build your core through the draft but add good players any way you can. As Ndog said… Grimes, Anger, Ayers, Brate, Rodgers, Smith, and Robinson were all great additions. Should be an interesting offseason!

  55. The bucfan 88 Says:

    @813bucboi I like ur pick but speedy will be an gem pick up in the 4th or 3rd round have u seen the kid return kick offs he’s is fast with him we will operate at least from the 40 or the 30 more than are average 20 now

  56. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Lakeland I don’t think Vernon signed with the gmen strictly because of the bright light of NYC bro. Something else did some major talking.

  57. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Nole…he signed with the Giants because they offered the most money. He would have signed with the Bucs if they had offered more money. Especially guarantee money.

  58. Tony in Los Angeles Says:

    There are waaaaaaay too many 30 year old free agents and injury prone offensive players on people’s wish list. That is exactly how bad teams stay bad. At RB you go find the next Jordan Howard for a fraction of the cost and draft capital. teams are proving again and again that you don’t have to spend big at that position to find success.

    Please stop with the Alshon and especially Eddie Lacy. Lacy had one decent half of a season playing against 6 man fronts and dime defenses because the Packers passing attack was otherworldly that season. He’s an injury prone plodder who is supremely overrated because he’s recognizable in fantasy football. Same with Alshon – he’s a volume producer who had a terrific season playing alongside Marshall – but is constantly injury prone and misses soooooo many series during games with tweaks, etc.

    And please stop with the AP talk. He is going to be 32 years old. And looked horrible even before he got hurt this year. And let’s not lay the excuse it’s because the Minny o-line is so bad. If AP needs good blocking to run well, then he ‘s no different than the younger / cheaper guys sure to be available at this point in his career.

  59. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Olivier Vernon signed a 5 year, $85,000,000 contract with the New York Giants, including a $20,000,000 signing bonus, $52,500,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,000,000. I wouldn’t give a DE a contract like that, i’m sure Jason Licht won’t either. The Cowboys are paying David Irving $525,000 for this season, next season they will tender him for a little more. But it will take years for him to demand a huge contract.

  60. D-Rome Says:

    The Bucs have been near or at the top of the league in terms of cap space for a number of years.

    When was the last time the Bucs free agency was interesting or exciting?

    What’s J.R. Sweezy up to these days?

  61. LakeLandBuc Says:

    To be honest, our success have come from finding UDFA. Guys like Donald Penn, Demar Dotson, Michael Bennett, Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate, Jack Smith, Howard Jones, Bradley McDougald, Allen Cross, Peyton Barber, Legarrette Blount etc.

  62. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I agree with Nole on Sat Buc on Sunday. JR Sweezy should be good to go and opening holes for whomever is running the ball. GO BUCS

  63. 813bucboi Says:

    @NOLE….@GHOST…ive told that sweezy will never hit the field in a bucs uni…..people on here say that ship has sailed….im hoping he plays and dominates next year….GO BUCS!!!

  64. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Really hoping Berry is available. He is a stud. But a combo of People n GMC would be heaven. Whichever guy gets let go should instantly come our number one priority.

    Also, resigning Anger is a must. What he is able to do with his punts is the biggest reason our D has been as good as it has been. That is a must.

    We have to get some WRs in FA and the draft. Could use as many as possible since they won’t all work out. And a real RT would be nice as well. I personally would move Smith to RT and either draft or sign a LT.

  65. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Lol my phone changed Poe to people. Random

  66. chargedcbh Says:

    Thank God u guys are not the GM here. Nobody named any offensive lineman. That is the key to ALL OF THIS! Why do u people want Alshon, he was suspended this year also. 94thSMH

  67. USFBUC Says:

    Sweezy said he came here to play LG so let’s bring in Zeitler to play RG move Marpet to C. Oline is set and we just need to draft/sign depth.

    The DLine should be Ayers, N Spence, McCoy, A Spence, McDonald, Fairley, Gholston, and Pierre-Paul.

    We also have one of the worst secondaries in the league so we need to spend money there. Bring in Eric Berry and Tony Jefferson to overhaul the safety position. Re-sign McDougald and Conte but on backup salaries. Cut Verner to free up cash and go with what we have including Ryan Smith as a CB.

    Probably need another OLB unless the coaches like what we have on the roster and there are several solid OLB FAs this offseason.

    WR should be Evans, Pryor, Still, Humphries with a shot at Gordon if he can play.

    We could then go to the draft looking for young weapons to grow with Winston. Picking up a new big RB, a stud TE, and a WR in the first three rounds.