The NFL’s First $30 Million Man?

June 24th, 2017

Bucs GM Jason Licht

This is a story about a big name in NFL media, extending general manager Jason Licht’s contract and the Buccaneers’ all-in mentality.

The buzz across the league this week was Raiders quarterback Derek Carr locking down $25 million per year in a new long-term contract. That makes Carr the top-paid gunslinger in the NFL, as Drew Brees, who led the league with 5,208 yards last season, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins are in line for new franchise-quarterback deals.

Of course, every good-to-great quarterback has his team over a barrel because no club can afford to play games at the position. Stafford, Brees and Cousins are sure to demand more than Carr.

It is the contention of Pat Kirwan, the former Jets personnel chief and linebackers coach, that the next waves of QB signings will crescendo when they reach America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston.

The Bucs have a fifth-year contract option on Jameis, who is in his third year. That option, based on how its calculated, likely would cost the Bucs about $23 million for 2019.

And then there are the negotiations for Jameis’ long-term deal. Kirwan said several times this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he believes Jameis will be the NFL’s first $30 million annual contract.


Joe has no problem paying Jameis. But add what Jameis will earn to the gargantuan salary coming Mike Evans’ way next year, plus eventual huge deals for the other Bucs stars from Jameis’ draft class, and it’s safe to say the Bucs won’t be doing much in free agency at the end of this decade.

That illustrates two key points. First, the Bucs have a tremendous window to add veteran talent while Jameis is earning a light rookie-contract salary (this year and next). Per Spotrac, in 2018, Jameis will only count $8 million against the cap.

Second, Jason Licht has proven to be a draft maven and his value to the Bucs should skyrocket as the team moves toward placing even greater emphasis on the draft — because it won’t have a load of money to go free agency shopping. Licht, entering his fourth year with Tampa Bay, has yet to have his contract extended, and that makes Joe a little nervous.

Joe is confident everyone will get paid, including Licht. And certainly, teams can make the Super Bowl with an expensive quarterback, a giant-money receiver and other well paid players (See Falcons).

Regardless, if the Bucs are successful this season, then it will be wild to watch how Team Glazer pushes its chips all in for a Super Bowl season in 2018. After that year, they’ll likely have a lot fewer chips.

20 Responses to “The NFL’s First $30 Million Man?”

  1. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    The true cost of contracts will continue to be relative to the salary cap.

    And who knows, maybe, just maybe, Jameis is a lot more like Tom Brady than most people give him credit. There’s a chance he takes a lower sum of money in order to allow JL to build the best Squad possible.

  2. rayjay1122 Says:

    The formula for sustained success is indeed drafting extremely well. That way you can stay talented, youthful and below the salary cap. Pay the few veterans that are irreplaceable and draft replacements for those who are expendable when they are due mega bucks if there is no way to retain them.

  3. Nutterbuccer Says:

    I agree with Blake, from what we have seen from winston he is a true team player and he will get paid but i believe he will take less to keep the team together.

  4. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    EXACTLY! These numbers are mind numbing but so are the numbers that the league generates in revenue.

    It’s like Monopoly money and the amounts aren’t as important as what Blake points out….the % of the salary cap pot dedicated to each player. The actual dollars are going to get spent anyway…it’s how and on which players it is spent that will determine success or failure.

    Hard to even imagine a contract impasse with #3…he’s going to get paid!

  5. jwash Says:

    It won’t get that high for qbs in 2 years. It goes up incrementally with every top 15 qb that signs a new deal. There won’t be enough qbs to sign deals to push it to $30mil between now and then

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    People keep saying that Brady takes these big pay cuts and hometown discounts, but the simple fact is that brady started off in the low pay bracket by being a 6th rounder. If he had been selected as a first round his contracts would have been way different!!!!

    The NFLPA is going to push very hard for JW3 and his agent to get a huge deal.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    He should never be paid that kind of money when he’s not even a “franchise QB” yet. This is preposterous. He’s a turnover machine. Nonsense. – Tampa Tony

  8. mike Says:

    let him make the playoffs

  9. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Players will take less to play with a winning franchise that has an elite QB. All they have to do is win, and they’ll fit good players under the cap.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    1. Lots of time left to see if he deserves it.
    2. Jameis is more likely to sign a two year extension for less just to get the team over the hump (SB), and then get a bigger contract.
    3. Yes, the money will get spent…but its the how it is spent that matters. If 70% of the cap is spent on Winston and Evans, then that doesn’t leave much room for other good players.
    4. At least we have some young talent that will be coming into its own about the time Jameis gets his big contract, so those salaries will be lower.

  11. Cat Says:

    Tom Brady is married to a billionaire and has a lot of endorsements though. I think JW will want to get as much as possible.

  12. BucEmUp Says:

    I can see J.w taking a paycut to help the team when he gets older. Hey he still needs to earn 30mil he needs to take this team to a dibision title before he gets that money.

  13. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Realist, Brady’s 6th round status only affects his rookie deal, after that he can command what he’s worth. Brady should always be the highest paid player in the league, but he’s not. After a player makes more than he can ever spend he should focus on the teams cap. Winston will make a boatload in his next deal. After that I’d expect him to sign more team friendly deals. This is why LeBron will never win another chip. The only way he can field a team to beat the Warriors is to take way less like Duncan did to surround himself with the guns to take on a team with 4 all stars. LeBron won’t do that, so he’s just playing for second place. Let’s hope Winston’s desire to win is greater than his desire to be the highest paid player. If so, Lichts job will be a lot easier.

  14. Fsuking Says:

    I fully expect Jameis to take a team friendly deal just South of 25 Million a year. Much like Tom Brady, the desire to win is so strong in him that money and fame take a firm backseat to his quest for long term greatness. Brees and Stafford should get roughly the same as Carr keeping the market around its current value. Cousins won’t get a fat long term contract because he’s Kirk Cousins and goo things like that don’t happen to Kirk Cousins.

    I will say this though, Licht would be wise to extend Jameis and Evans ASAHP to avoid paying excess for their continued service. These guys are top of the market and will be paid as such. We can’t let the market price get too high!

    Let’s not kid ourselves, Brady could have taken 25 mil a year two years ago. But that would have left him without Brandon Cooks and half his supporting cast for this years deep playoff run. (He would still be fine)

  15. Supersam Says:

    30 mill is way to much, can’t sacrifice our future just to make him rich. We have a lot of other great talent on this team that we need to keep around too. Until Winston can prove he can win the big games. No big money.

  16. Bill Says:

    “Tom Brady is married to a billionaire and has a lot of endorsements though. I think JW will want to get as much as possible.”

    There’s no doubt being married to Gissele makes it easier. The flip side to that, is that Brady has the endorsements because he’s had success. Brady has regularly taken less, he’s yet to top $15M. Peyton has publicly expressed displeasure with his agent in the past for signing a contract larger than he wanted. Obviously, the cap keeps going up so some increase should be expected, but $30M? I suspect the Raiders will be regretting Carr’s contract sooner than they think.

  17. Tae Says:

    I think it’s crazy we’re talking $30 mil for a QB that hasn’t made a playoff game let alone won a SB!! I agree the potential for greatness is there but it has to come to fruition. Also you talk of him taking less like Brady in order to have a great supporting cast around him. Remind yourselves of the difference in age. Jameis is just starting out and deserves to make every bit of what he’s worth bc as we all know, one injury is all it takes to end the money train and he doesn’t have the multi-million dollar endorsements and billion dollar wife to fall back on – yet. If I we’re his agent, I would be advising him to ask for to dollar bc there are 29 other teams who will pay it.

  18. NFLNut Says:

    If Jameis WANTS to be the highest paid QB in the NFL, he will be imho … he may give the Bucs a bit of a hometown discount though,, we’ll see … either way, I believe he’ll be worth whatever they pay him!

  19. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    The cap goes up every year not a story or big deal sorry

  20. Phil Says:

    Jameis will get an 8 year $250,000,000.00 contract to become the highest paid player in NFL history.