Bucs Lead The NFC — In Cash

February 23rd, 2018

GM Jason Licht: powerbroker

Are the Bucs great at salary cap management, bad at picking expensive players who stick, or just frugal? Or some combination of all three?

Those are fair questions considering Tampa Bay now has the most 2018 salary camp room in the NFC. And the salary cap is expected to increase for all teams when the exact 2018 figure is finalized next month.

Per ESPN, the Bucs have $70.9 million in cap space. The Browns, Jets and Colts have more. The 49ers are behind Tampa Bay with $64.5 million.

(Yeah, Yeah, Coach Koetter, we know, we know. The Bucs didn’t have $17 million laying around to sign manbeast DE Calais Campbell in free agency last March. Pffft.)

So now what?

As Derrick Brooks simply and elegantly said one month, the Bucs need a plan.

“One of the worst kept secrets (laughs),” Brooks said of the Bucs’ poor pass rush. “That is the case when you look to evaluate this team and that’s what Jason Licht and his staff, Dirk Koetter and his staff, they gotta find a way to address that issue because it’s not only been a problem this particular year, it’s been a problem the last couple of years when you look at the shortcomings of this team — it has been around creating pressure on [quarterbacks].

“So they have to address that along with where did they go wrong, in terms of the offensive continuity, the running game. It can go down the line. How do you deal with injuries. Depth-wise, do you draft on defense after drafting on offense? So, point being that they have a process in place that they got to go through and evaluate these issues.”

It’s all on general manager Jason Licht’s shoulders. This is his time of year. The running backs stable and the offensive line can get major upgrades in free agency. Is there a reason in the world not to do it?

The Bucs were rather old and unproductive on defense. Is there a reason not to draft heavy on defense and complement with productive, good-example-type pieces in free agency?

Licht, it seems, has the juice to improve this team in a hurry. If he can’t, then he’ll be looking for work next season, or setting some kind of modern record as a sixth-year GM with one good season.

47 Responses to “Bucs Lead The NFC — In Cash”

  1. 813bucboi Says:

    time to spend big on a couple top tier FA’s instead of spending big on several mid/lower tier FA’s…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!……GO BUCS!!!!!

  2. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Quality over quantity!!!! It’s got to get done this time around!! All your jobs are dependent of it! No more cheapos!

  3. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The Bucs have tons of cap space because Dominik was one of the worst GM’s in the league at acquiring young talent worth a big 2nd contract.

    Gerald McCaoy / Lavonte David / (Doug Martin I guess)

    That’s it. In 5 f*cking drafts.

    Pretty positive his drafts netted the least amount of contract extensions in the NFL in that time. Absolutely pathetic and we’re still recovering from it.

  4. Joeypoppems Says:

    This isnt the 1st year under this regime that we have been in a good situation cap wise. Yet every year come October we are complaining about the FAs we sign. Why should we expect this year to be different?

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “If he (Licht) can’t, then he’ll be looking for work next season, or setting some kind of modern record as a sixth-year GM with one good season.” One GOOD season Joe? Let’s see, 22-42 with ONE winning season … that being an exhilarating 9-7. As I remember, 9-7 got Tony Dungy AND his GM fired. And oh ya, 9-7 got Jon Gruden AND his GM fired.

    But you’re right … “It’s all on general manager Jason Licht’s shoulders.” The very fact that we ‘lead the NFC in cash’ is depressing. That’s not a mantle that we should be wearing proudly. Bucs’ ownership & management have had the resources for quite some time to right this ship but they’ve gone cheap. Folks can beat on the coaches all they want about using crappy tactics & not being able to develop players, but reality is that there’s no substitute for T-A-L-E-N-T. And as should be obvious, it’s not free. Do your %$#@& job Jason. Stock this 2018 Bucs’ team with some T-A-L-E-N-T and THEN let’s see if this coaching staff can kick some ass with it.

  6. DBS Says:

    Bucs and FA. Show me the money and I’ll show you the vacation.

  7. Bucnjim Says:

    I’m pretty sure the Glazers have come right out and said they don’t like spending money on high priced free agents unless there is a good core of players already on the roster to make a run at the playoffs. We have a good start on offense but the D has been a combination of terrible draft picks, failures in free agency, and neglected to get weapons for Winston. The Bucs may want to consider going RB in free agency and spend every draft pick this year on the D. Maybe even trade down and package McCoy to get additional draft picks. McCoy will be too old to help us by the time we are ready to make a legitimate run.

  8. Mike Johnson Says:

    If these Bucs have a losing season this upcoming season I say…Do A cleanse sweep. Starting with the Licht factor!

  9. tmaxcon Says:

    Mike Johnson

    The only cleanse thst can help the bucs is a glazer cleanse followed by the eradication of cancer93 from roster. Now that would give bucfan hope.

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Pretty sure nobody has to worry about which “favorite” coach will get the axe next year if the Bucs lay another egg.

    The entire staff will be swept away from GM to equipment manager. And that should also include a LARGE number of players dumped with them.

    I think we all get it. It’s do or die for Licht, Koetter, Smitty hence their assistants next year. It’s borderline do or die for #3.

    So why can’t we just accept that and move on and cheer for the Bucs. I hope Koetter rebounds with a great year. I hope Licht has the best draft picks…best UDFA’s and best FA’s in the entire league. I hope Smitty produces a stifling defense.

    I’m not sure everyone here hopes that. It’s one thing to doubt it but entirely another to not even hope….just give up…tap out…

  11. Eric Says:

    Get a good running back

    A couple of guys that can rush the passer

    A corner

    And hope like hell Jameis is not suspended.

  12. SCBucsFan Says:

    FA seems to be a crapshoot for the Bucs and well as most teams. Last year the Jags hit it big, hopefully this year its us. I still can’t believe we got so little out of Jackson last year.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Also – I saw how some believe we have on trade value at 7 for a QB needy team. I disagree.

    You don’t have to be right in front of teams that also need Qbs. Last year the Cardinals jumped to spot 10 for Mahomes. The Saints weren’t taking a QB at 11. Maybe Cleveland at 12 but then Cleveland traded out of that so Houston could take Watson. The Cards weren’t all-in on a QB or anything at 13. And many other trades have happened this way in which teams moved up over like 3 or 4+ teams that didn’t need QBs to take a QB.

    While the Bears/49ers/Raiders don’t need QB; these teams might:

    Miami – 11
    Washington – 13
    Arizona – 15
    Baltimore – 16
    Chargers – 17
    Bills – 21

    IMO the trade game will come down to how willing teams in front / behind us are to trade down and which QBs go. For the non QB drafting teams; is it worth giving up a prospect like Chubb/Nelson/Barkley/Fitzpatrick for more picks?

    And even then – let’s say the Jets trade out of their spot ahead of us for someone wanting QB. If Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield still remains when we’re on the clock – we likely have a trade market.

    Knowing that there are like 4-5 other teams that might want the QB you’re targeting; you’re not going to pass on a deal for pick 7 that guarentees your guy; thinking you can get by with a cheaper trade up at 8/9/10. You’re going to just make the deal to make sure you get your guy.

  14. JonBuc Says:

    The picture with this article says a thousand words. Way more dollars than sense…

  15. Bobby M. Says:

    We’ve likely led the division for nearly a decade with these rounds and rounds of “rebuilding”…..We overpay for avg talent to fill some headlines all while we unload existing deals and make the minimum cap requirement. We have the cash….sounds like Suh is available….make the move and put him next to McCoy or let him fill McCoy’s spot and let McCoy freelance along the line like Reggie White. Now you have a dominant d-line and top tier LBs….your corners can be avg and still look solid.

  16. uckinator Says:

    What free agent would want to come here with Famous Jamais’s future hazy and the whole coaching staff/GM walking the plank if they don’t have a winning record. If the money’s the same, they’d go elsewhere. Thank goodness we don’t have a state income tax to even it out with all those Democratic Party controlled states.

  17. LakeLand Says:

    Mike Evans | UFA | 2019
    Kwon Alexander | UFA | 2019
    Ali Marpet | UFA | 2019
    Donovan Smith | UFA | 2019
    Jameis Winston | UFA | 2020
    Cam Brate | RFA | 2018
    Adam Humphries | RFA | 2018

    How much cash do they really have to spend?

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Any new contracts for free agents are going to have to be well planned out with only the first year guaranteed.

    Too many extensions coming up. Heck, in 2019 we’ll have Mike Evans, Brate (if not this year) and Kwon to extend, and in 2020 we’ll have Winston, Marpet and Smith to extend.

    Those are all going to be sizable.

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    LakeLand, I believe Marpet and Smith both have 5th year options.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:


    You just gotta play the game well.

    $71 mill right now + $12 mill in expected cap increase.

    Let’s say we move on from:
    Ayers ($6 mill)
    Sweezy ($6.5 mill)
    Conte ($2.5 mill)
    Jacquis Rodgers ($1.5 mill)

    That’s another $16.6 mill.

    So that’s $100 million in space before mentioning Gerald McCOY ($12 mill) or Desean Jackson ($11 mill).

    ME – $18 mill
    Kwon – $9 mill
    Marpet – $9 mill
    SMith – $10 mill
    Brate – $8 mill
    Humphries – $4 mill

    That’s $58 million we could spend to lock these guys up by 2019; and we’d still have $42 million we could be spending on free agents between 2018-2019.

    We’d use the tag on Winston in 2019; and in 2020 unload McCoy/Djax. Cap will have gone up again $12 mill and there’s your $30+ mill available for a big Winston deal.

    $42 mill in contracts is nuts though we don’t need to be doing that. But we could easily sign like 2-3 players to $10+ million deals and be fine.

  21. DanBucsFan Says:

    @813—– I AGREE about free agency. The plan will hopefully be, use money wisely, as far ss big money reaching for a player because we are hurting at the particular position. We have our own building block players coming up in need of a raise. I agree we need to spend on good players, just dont over pay for average players. And draft bpa in draft that fits need\value. Whoever we draft 1st we have 4-5 years before they need to re up at > salary.So it its Nelson then we are not needing to spend $ instantly on building block talent. But if we can pick up stud in free agency but he costs big $, he better be a stud while he with us lol. This is a BIG moment in the growth of our team. DON’T MESS THIS UP LICHT

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    uckinator Says
    “What free agent would want to come here with Famous Jamais’s future hazy and the whole coaching staff/GM walking the plank if they don’t have a winning record”

    If Jameis gets any suspension, it won’t be more than a few games. His future is not hazy.

    And so far as the coaching staff, players would be even more unlikely to come if they’d fired the coaches this year because of the lack of stability.

    This team is not as far off as some people think:

    • Offensive Line is fine, at least this year. While Dotson is getting older, he’s got a year or two left in him. The line did not play great last year, but it was a new line, and they gradually improved. They just need a little more time to gel.

    • Wide Receivers are set. We probably have the best group in the NFL for 2018. Especially if we re-sign Humphries for depth.

    • Tight Ends are fantastic. The Bucs just need to extend Brate…which I believe they will.

    • Quarterbacks are great too. We have three on the team, Winston, Fitzpatrick and Griffin. Fitz will start while Jameis is out if needed. Griffin isn’t bad either, and might just work his way up to #2 this year.

    • Cornerbacks are not nearly as bad as people think. Grimes will re-sign. Ryan Smith showed improvement, and after being moved to slot briefly, VHIII got better, much better. And he played lights out when he was moved back outside due to injuries. Sure, we’ll draft of sign at least 1-2 more CBs, but the situation there is better than people think. The Bucs could even get Aaron Colvin in Free Agency to improve the group.

    • Safeties are an acceptable group. Justin Evans has improved vastly. Conte, while not elite, is solid enough. While there is always room for improvement, they would also do well enough for another year.

    • At Kicker, Murray did an acceptable job, but I would like to get better there. Cody Parkey has a 90+ PGM rate, and I would love to get him in here as a free agent.

    • Punter is good. Very good.

    In fact, the only real needs are Defensive Line and running back. The Bucs could address RB in free agency by signing LeGarrette Blount and Carlos Hyde, saving the picks for defense.

    I realize all of this does not play into the doom and gloom crowds agenda, but rest assured, we can compete this year if we address the right needs this off season.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Also, Brentson Buckner has a personal relationship with Julius Peppers. If he can convince him to come to Tampa to finish out his career, not only would it give us an incredible bridge player, but it would also subtract from the Panthers, weakening their defensive line.

  24. DanBucsFan Says:

    Hell yes Bonzai

  25. JonBuc Says:

    BB sez:

    LakeLand, I believe Marpet and Smith both have 5th year options.

    5th year options are exclusive to 1st round picks…

  26. doolnutts Says:

    Am I the only one scared of our position here? There likely won’t be any good pass rush free agents and Chubbs will be gone at 7 for the draft… Not really sure what kind of plan there is if what you need most isn’t there…

  27. miken Says:

    Lots of cash!!!!!
    Who are we going to sign and pay a bunch of cash for to come down to take a year or 2 off and get paid handsomely to under acheieve???

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:



  29. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Sixth year GM with one good season-
    Perspective is needed, Joes-
    Bucs had traded 3 no 1 picks and released another no 1 pick 2008-2013 and Gholston is all that’s left from 2013 draft – Licht was left with a dumpster fire- Licht did make a dumb trade involving Barron and Aguayo pick was a disaster…realistically, Bucs could improve to 8-8 or 9-7 in 2008 with a good draft and free agent class –
    If Bucs stay with the draft to stock talent, 2009 could be playoff year…

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The Bucs have paid for middle ground talent for years without getting anywhere. It;s time they sign at least one huge name.

  31. mike10 Says:

    Lord C, great take.

    If I’m Licht, I make upgrades in free agency at OL and CB (included resigning Grimes). I use the draft to address DL.

  32. mike10 Says:

    ^^ Actually I’m addressing DL and RB in the draft.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Alanbucsfan Says
    “Sixth year GM with one good season”

    Licht doesn’t coach or play the games. His job is draft and free agency. When it comes to the draft, he has had an amazing run of good picks. Yes, Aguayo was a bad pick…but really, what did it matter? Every GM has bad picks.

    But for the most part, Licht hits on rounds 1-5 more often than other GMs. (although last year a couple GMs did do better)

    Licht will have to have his best free agency of his career this year. And I hardly think 9-7 is the maximum we can hope for. A RB and a CB in FA, re-sign Grimes. Extend Brate and Humphries, then fix the line in the draft. Maybe bring in a big name for the line in FA.

    He pulls that off, and we become a big contender, because the oline will have a year of development behind it.

  34. Patrick in VA Says:

    Honestly, I think that if we invest heavily enough in our defensive and offensive lines in FA and the draft, we really don’t need anything else right now. It would be great to have new CBs, but having a stout D-line to pair with our LBs will cure a lot of ailments there. We can address the skill positions another year, but I’d love to see us drafting BPA who is either a D or O lineman wherever we’re picking in that round and then swallow up all the D or O linemen we can afford in FA and let’s build from the trenches out.

  35. Wausa Says:

    This is why the Bucs need to extend Kwon, Mike Evans, Jameis and Marpet and Brate this offseason. In addition they could also sign guys that would be instant starters and upgrades:

    Andrew Norwell OG Carolina
    Lamarcus Joyner DB Rams
    Patrick Robinson CB Philly.
    Carlos Hyde RB San Fran

    The Bucs should also sign Clinton McDonald and Brent Grimes.

    Then go as heavy as possible on DL in the draft

  36. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Licht has been off and on a little bit but I think he could warrant a 6th season.

    Mark Dominick might be historically the worst talent evaluator and drafter in NFL history.

    From all his years all that we have is McCoy (3rd overall pick and dominick does not deserve alot of credit for) LVD.

    Sure Gholston’s on the team but should he be? what the heck has he actually done his whole career. mediocre is an overstatement

    Doug martin gave us 2 good years and a bunch of crap.

    Licht came in to a team that was practically 100% devoid of talent. Yeah, the Aguayo pick was effing stupid and FA’s havent worked out that often. But for the most part his drafts have been very good.

  37. RawBucFan Says:

    Time to spend BIG but RESPONSIBLY. In other words get players/teammates of character who LOVE football. RB, CB, DE, DT, S address every position!!!
    RB-Hyde or Crowell (draft Jones, Michel or Penny)
    CB-Johnson, Grimes or Talib (pick 2)
    DE-Ealy, Peppers (Draft Key or Davenport)
    DT-Resign McDonald (Draft Vea or Settle)
    S-Reid or JJ Wilcox (pick 1)

    Move down in the draft with Buffalo if possible to address are biggest weaknesses DEPTH & COMPETITION.

    On another note: Let Humphries go Djax & Bobo will be better slot options & it creates more playing time for Godwin.

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bonzai … “In fact, the only real needs are Defensive Line and running back. The Bucs could address RB in free agency by signing LeGarrette Blount and Carlos Hyde, saving the picks for defense. I realize all of this does not play into the doom and gloom crowds agenda, but rest assured, we can compete this year if we address the right needs this off season.”

    Good overall analysis Bonzai, but we’re not even close when it comes to our Secondary. Grimes MIGHT re-sign, and I hope he does, but right now we need TWO outside corners. Ryan Smith shows promise, but don’t over-do it … he got burned often last season. He’ll no doubt improve with game-time, but I’d much rather see him as a backup outside CB this year as opposed to a starter. There are several excellent outside CBs available in FA, and Bucs need to grab TWO of them (plus Grimes IF he decides to re-sign).

  39. R.O. Says:

    I’m Sorry.. Only the Top 53 salaried count against the cap. You need to do a space vs. Current roster comparison. A team with $50m in space and 53 salaries counting against that space is better off than a team with $80m and 35 players counting against that cap. It’s all relative. Tell us the Bucs cap space and how many salaries are making up the balance of the cap.

  40. GhostofSchiano Says:

    The Glazer boys could easily afford to spend the whole 70 million….

    Like they do on their OTHER team –


    Get some stories circulating about that. Amazing.

  41. LakeLand Says:


    That’s true, the Glazers do spend big on Man U, but they have to keep pace with Man City, who also spends big. And there’s no salary cap in the EPL.

  42. LakeLand Says:


    You are spot on, I believe the Bucs has 28 players on their roster under contract. That’s why they are $80 million under the cap.

  43. The Anomaly Says:

    The Glazers ar eone of the worst ownership groups in all of sports. Stu isn’t far behind. It’s almost impossible to run two franchise on two continents. They suck and I hope they sell. #firetheglazers

  44. Maze Says:

    Now get out there and attack Trumaine Johnson, Ryan Jensen and Dion Lewis. Dreams can come true.

  45. Jaycee Says:

    Licht has a bad track record with Free Agents. He needs to focus on what he’s good at, which is the draft

  46. Maze Says:

    Not if he goes after proven hard working character guys. The draft ain’t gonna fix sh/t alone with this roster and this division. Loads of salary cap.

  47. tnew Says:

    Great.. The Bucs are now taking the Rays approach.

    Who truly believes the Bucs can have the lowest salary and be competitive in the NFC?

    Oh yeah, its all Winston’s fault.