The Cost Of Doing Business

February 9th, 2018


Elite quarterbacks want to be paid and it won’t be long before the Bucs are standing in the financial crossroads.

John Lynch didn’t do Jason Licht any favors by emptying the vault for Jimmy Garoppolo, who has all of seven pro starts on his resume.

The 49ers just signed him to a five-year deal worth $137.5 million and Lynch is confident that deal will turn out to be a bargain.

That’s because he believes his young quarterback is on the path to greatness. Lynch also knows that Kirk Cousins is about to break the bank as a free agent, with Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson all in line for new deals within the next couple of years.

So where does that leave Jameis Winston, who turned 24 last month?

The first overall pick in the 2015 draft will have a cap hit of only $8 million next season. Expect Tampa Bay to pick up a fifth-year option on Winston in the next few months, just like the Bucs did with Mike Evans last April.

The Bucs have until May 2 to exercise that option, otherwise Winston could become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. There’s no way the Bucs would allow that to happen because ownership and management still believe in his vast potential.

“Last year showed everyone the type of quarterback Jameis is when he’s healthy,” says Donovan Smith, whose main job is to keep Winston healthy. “He got hurt in what, Week 2 or whenever it was, and he fought through it. I don’t even think he was fully healthy when he was lighting it up. It’s scary to be honest how great he actually is.”

Serious Or Not?

To figure out Winston’s option-year salary in 2019, take the average of the top 10 quarterback salaries in the league. The Bucs and Winston could also agree on a contract extension that would keep him in pewter for quite awhile.

First things first.

Evans is ahead of Winston by one year in the pecking order and the best wide receiver in franchise history is already hinting that his long-term extension may be announced shortly.

The Glazers have told me that they will gladly pay out big money for second contracts because that would mean the team is building around a young, talented core.

The flip side of that is Evans, Winston, Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet and Smith figure to take up a considerable chunk of Tampa Bay’s salary-cap space by the end of this decade.

Hey, that’s the cost of doing business in the NFL if you’re serious about putting a winning product on the field.

Until now, the quarterback position hasn’t made a major impact on Tampa Bay’s salary structure. That will soon change, unless the Bucs are undecided whether Winston is the right guy to lead their resurrection.

“Jameis is as tough as they come,” says Ryan Fitzpatrick, who worked with Winston every day during the 2017 season. “Playing through what he did and he didn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him … he’s got all the right qualities.”

Soon, he figures to have the cash as well.

Greatest Hope

Winston isn’t a finished product, not by a longshot. He is careless with the rock and he needs to have far better touch throwing the deep ball, although the final pass he delivered in 2017, a last-second TD strike to Chris Godwin, was a thing of beauty.

There is still an Uber investigation hanging over his helmet, but Winston remains the No. 1 reason for optimism that this franchise has a chance to end a 10-year playoff drought, the longest in the NFC.

“Jameis is one of the main reasons this team fights so hard,” says Evan Smith. “We know he’s not going to back down. With Jameis Winston, you always have a chance.”

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360. Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday.

28 Responses to “The Cost Of Doing Business”

  1. darin Says:

    With Mike Smith you dont always seem to have a chance tho Evan. Lets hope he changes some of his tried and true philosophies.

  2. LakeLand Says:

    With the right system and the right coaches, a team wouldn’t have to spend big on players.

  3. LakeLand Says:

    If you spend $30 million on your QB, another $15 million on a WR. That’s over 25% of your cap space going to two players.

  4. ndog Says:

    Lakeland what? So you don’t think good players want to get paid? So you are saying teams should win without good players? If you are looking at NE good on ya but I am pretty sure that Brady and Gronk are pretty good players. Plus it is well known they have played in the worst division in the NFL during their entire run.

  5. Wausa Says:

    I doubt the Bucs are smart enough to do it, but if they sign Jameis to a long term extension this offseason they can save a lot of money towards the cap going forward. My guess is they will wait until next offseason and end up paying a premium.

    If you know a player is in your long term plans then take the risk of extending early to save cap space over the long haul.

  6. LakeLand Says:


    There’s nothing wrong with spending $178 million on 53 good football players. But there is something wrong with spending $100 million on a few good football players. Then spending the remaining $78 million on 45+ bums.

  7. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Jameis is the No. 1 reason for optimism. Yeah, but half the time he plays just like No. 2.

  8. Jarod lauderdale Says:

    Lakeland your wrong , say at first with the right system and coaches you don’t have to spend big but once that system and players prove to be winners the demand for money follows to keep them…period..and you can’t just say since the system works you just replace doesn’t work that way..not with your quarter back at least

  9. LakeLand Says:

    When you’re 5-11

    The last thing a team should be talking is contract extensions
    They should be talking terminating contracts

  10. LakeLand Says:

    That’s why they have the rookie cap ceiling now. Teams has 4-5 years to pay these players a set rate. If they can’t get the best of these players in 4-5 years, that’s their problem. You can also get rid of players before it’s time to extend them. Trade them for draft picks, there’s a lot of ways to maintain a good football team. The Bucs don’t have a clue about doing it, but some teams are excellence at it.

  11. BrianBucs Says:

    If Jameis is the Bucs #1 reason for optimism then they are really in trouble. Plus Mike Evans is Bucs best ever receiver? Some very questionable comments by Ira. Either the dimencia is creeping in or somebody is sliding him some green

  12. LakeLand Says:

    Why should a team kick down the door of Wells Fargo to extend a QB with a 18-27 record?

  13. Joe Says:

    Why should a team kick down the door of Wells Fargo to extend a QB with a 18-27 record?

    1. One of most talented quarterbacks to come into the NFL in years.

    2. How does Mike Glennon leading the Bucs grab ya?

  14. Joe Says:

    If Jameis is the Bucs #1 reason for optimism then they are really in trouble.

    Yeah, Joe can relate. He just wants to punch holes in his office walls for a 24-year old quarterback with zero running game and a cesspool of a defense setting NFL passing records.

    What a POS he is!

  15. LakeLand Says:

    If you pay the talented young 24 year old QB $30 million a year. Then pay the talented WR $15 million a year. That’s $ 45 million per season for those two players. You actually think they can improve in all of the other areas, with the amount of cap they have left? Improve enough to become perenial winners. They will need more than the $175+ millions to make that improvement.

  16. LakeLand Says:


  17. GhostofSchiano Says:

    5th most salary cap space for 2018…..Go big or go home Jason Gump.

  18. LakeLand Says:


    The Bucs had the 4th most cap space in 2017.

  19. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    The research varies a bit…but figures range from 2-10% that sexual abuse charges are filed falsely. So even if you accept the highest figure that still means 90% of the allegations are true.

    We still do not know about Jameis and the Uber incident. I’m very troubled that Jameis knew all of this for over a year and simply did not get taken care of.

    If there weren’t two more guys in that car to back up #3’s story and destroy the woman’s charges I’m going to have a real problem.

    If there were three guys in the car then the allegations fall apart. Simple as that.

    I’m not going to say #3 grabbed her crotch…nor am I going to say the woman must be one of the 10% and is a money grabbing opportunist. I DO NOT KNOW.

    I’m just really over all of this and cannot understand why it hasn’t been resolved. If he gets suspended for this kiss the 30 million goodbye. If he is cleared and there were two other guys then #3 is golden. I’m rooting for the latter but I certainly wouldn’t bet my life on it…I simply HOPE it at this point.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lakeland … “There’s nothing wrong with spending $178 million on 53 good football players. But there is something wrong with spending $100 million on a few good football players. Then spending the remaining $78 million on 45+ bums.”

    Problem is … we’re NOT spending $178 million on 53 good football players, nor are we even close to that. I wish that we were, we’d be a LOT better than we’ve been. Have seen so many fans applaud how good Dominik & Licht have been with our contracts & CAP management, but that’s BS IMO. Our record in the 9 yrs since Dom took over (2009) & Licht replaced him (2014) is 50-94. We’ve come in dead LAST in the NFC South in SEVEN of those nine seasons, and haven’t even sniffed a playoff game in that timeframe. Yet in those years Bucs have saved a TON of CAP money (same song every year).

    GhostofSchiano nailed it: “Go big or go home Jason Gump.”

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Man you sure are a worry wart spbf. You keep bringing this Uber thing up like you are scared of it or something. Why?

    Remember how worried you were about drafting Winston because of the (blatantly false) cleat-chaser’s allegations?

    How horrible has that decision to draft Jameis #1 turned out so far??

    Worry accomplishes nothing.

    The absolute worst that could happen is that evidence becomes available that somehow proves Winston is lying about the crotch grab (highly unlikely) and he gets suspended for 2 or 3 games. That’s the worst thing that could happen – and if it does – you get through it and move forward. An unwanted crotch grab is certainly disrespectful and mildly illegal – but its not really THAT big of a deal – even in today’s hyper-sensitive, play to appearances, #metoo environment.

    No police involved – no charges – no related litigation – no proof on the accusers part, a direct witness corroborating Winston’s account of what happened…

    What exactly is it that you are so worried about???

  22. LakeLand Says:

    Defense Rules

    I don’t see how Jason Licht can offer these free agents long term contracts. These guys won’t come to Tampa on a one year deal. He has Winston Kwon, Marpet, Donovan, Brate, Humphries up for new deals soon.

  23. LakeLand Says:

    ME, Winston, Kwon, Marpet, Donovan, Brate, Humphries up for new deals. Jason Licht can’t afford to commit to free agents on long term deals. Top guys like Bell, Lawrence, Ansah, Poe, Trumaine Johnson, Butler are looking for long term deals. That’s the point I’m trying to make. Something has to give somewhere.

  24. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    The most interesting thing from this article was the Evan Smith quote. My, how opinions have been changed! Good job Jameis!

  25. BrianBucs Says:

    @ Joe

    Sorry Joe, but wrong again. Maybe if Jameis had not led the league in fumbles (playing only 13 games) and had the turnovers and bonehead plays he did, then the defense would not have been put in so many bad positions where they continually had to bail him out. Also Joe, if the defense had been better and didn’t always put the offense in either catch up or garbage time mode, then Jameis would not have the yards he did or broke the records you speak of.
    Come on Joe, you can’t have it both ways

  26. Kobe Faker Says:

    Paying MEME 14 mil to the most overrated wr in the NFL will be the worst contract in the NFL

    Godwin and OJ are better recievers …Huge mistake

    Trade him for a 2nd rounder

  27. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    It’s the context. #3 has used up every bit of his “reasonable doubt” excuses.

    I had zero problem with the crab legs…from Tuscaloosa to Columbus…star college players are comped at various businesses. I write that off to misunderstanding.

    No problem with the BB gun…kids will be kids.

    Jumping on the table screaming F her in the p did bother me. Not because I’m a prude but because it was a serious lapse in judgement for a potential #1 draft pick.

    Since he was never charged with rape that too is a non issue other again perhaps some bad judgement in his partying.

    But IF he’s suspended for the UBER incident…that will bother me because I would then be forced to question his judgement…AGAIN. Waiting over a year to tell the Bucs? And it’s only natural at that point to wonder what is next.

    So far he’s only guilty of bad judgement. He NEEDS to correct that NOW.
    When you are a celebrity earning multi millions of dollars one of the costs of doing business is having a bodyguard with you if you decide to go out at night with alcohol involved. And it’s not just to protect him from gold diggers. There are MEN out there with tiny little egos who might dislike #3 or decide simply to challenge #3 to a fight. He doesn’t need that either and a bodyguard takes care of that situation.

    In short I’m not upset if #3 needs a babysitter…but it’s on him to hire one. Although I concede I can’t imagine why the Bucs didn’t provide one nor can I imagine forking over 30 million a year without some future protection.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    Again I say..Give me a Great Defense and an average offense anyday. Folks forget we won a superbowl with a very average QB. Phiily did too!!