Bucs Still In Cap Crunch; Cuts Inevitable

March 15th, 2019

Jason Licht has accounting concerns

Joe realizes Bucs fans are constantly looking around hoping, praying something very exciting happens in free agency — something more than losing key contributors (if there is such a thing on a 5-11 team) and replacing them with players bearing question marks.

But as solid players from good teams keep getting signed by other clubs, Bucs fans are in a steady state of minor disappointment.

The road block is the salary cap, and the Bucs could need around 9 million to sign their draft picks. The various salary cap trackers out there aren’t fully updated, but the Bucs barely have the cash available.

Joe suspects at this point Bucco Bruce Arians wants to get a look at guys in person before firing them, guys like Caleb Benenoch, Evan Smith and Ryan Smith, who all will count $2 million or more against the 2019 cap. The team reports back for conditioning and medical testing on April 1.

There’s no way the roster stays status quo plus draft picks, but it’s a question who gets dumped and signed. The second and third tiers of free agency can be very challenging. First, nearly every team has the money to compete there, and evaluating the players is more challenging overall.

Of course, trades are always on the table, and draft-day deals are common. Could Joe see versatile Will Gholston ($3.75 million) dealt on draft day for a seventh-round pick? Absolutely. What about a late third-rounder for Gerald McCoy ($13 million) if the Bucs grab a defensive tackle at No. 5 overall and another team misses on its targeted DT in the draft?

Is Demar Dotson ($4.75 million) really safe? Joe could totally see him getting dealt in August if the Bucs find the right guy on the street and a partner in need. Remember how Gosder Cherilus gave the Bucs a great 2015 season when he was signed off the street in August.

Significant change is coming. Joe can feel it. It just might take a while, as Bucs free agency continues to be as engaging as a baseball spring training game.

54 Responses to “Bucs Still In Cap Crunch; Cuts Inevitable”

  1. Troy Says:

    Change has to come. This was a bad football team.

  2. unbelievable Says:

    I don’t think anyone is trading for Gholston or Dotson lol.

    Better off just cutting Gholston if you need money. Guy hasn’t done chit for this team in years.

  3. Easy Says:

    Just release Gholston and If McCoy cant be traded then release him. We need to get younger and better on the D-Line

  4. Ndog Says:

    Troy Says:
    March 15th, 2019 at 12:41 pm
    Change has to come. This was a bad football team.

    Were the players bad or was the coaching just horrible?!?!?!

  5. Knucknbuc Says:

    lol licht is such a trashh gm its really amazing he has a job. i think he has pictures of the glazers going in and out of the rub and tug they caught Kraft at. what kind of bad gm can you be to have back to back 5-11 seasons and have zilch for cap space with mike evans as your only legit superstar player and not only that next year he womt even ne able to sign all these guys back because theyre on basically 1 year deals! laughable. not only that the guys he drafted are coming up too who are so injury prone that we dont even kno really how good theyre. what a $hitshow

  6. scbucsfan Says:

    Change is needed and has been for awhile. The key is changing to get better, not rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Bucs fans are constantly looking around hoping, praying something very exciting happens in free agency”

    Not me personally. I want those mid round 2020 compensatory picks. I am that compensatory pick nerd this year lol.

    Defense needs to be rebuilt through the draft not FA for once.

    I also like the idea of BA getting time to assess before making some cuts, and allowing the draft to dictate some potential trades.

  8. Loyaltotheend Says:

    10 wins in 2 years… and fans think a coach who is mailing it in and had to be coaxed out of retirement is gonna save us from being a joke? Damn we are a desperate fanbase

  9. Lee Says:

    Was Licht only kept to hire Arians? Otherwise, none of this makes sense. What if Jameis does not improve?
    Do they build around a rookie quarterback in 2020 with a 70-year-old coach?

  10. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Again, Joe, you are underestimating how bad the coaching was…

    Bucs started the season 2-0 vs NFC south champs and defending SB champs.
    They would have beaten Steelers but for 2 plays- Fitzpatrick ‘s pick 6 and DJax’ punt return called back for stupid penalty ( I won’t include Conte’s tackle dummy play)

    Then the team fell apart because Koetter was all over the place on Jameis, keeping Smith too long, taking over play calling then giving it back- the players lost focus on winning because the coaching and head coach sucked.

  11. Bird Says:

    Kareem hunt got 8 game suspension

  12. BucThatNoise Says:

    Bucs lost 7 games in 2018 by 1 score or less. BA and staff are probably still poring over film trying to determine how much of that was because of poor talent and how much was because of poor coaching. That’s why they haven’t yet hacked as many guys as everyone seems to think is necessary.
    I think they believe they have enough talent to compete in the division or at least will after draft and normal roster changes. None of the players who have signed elsewhere are irreplaceable.

  13. Joeypoppems Says:

    I dont understand the fans tbh. They bash Licht for overpaying for FAs that underperform and now when every team is overpaying for guys in FA they bash Licht for not doing anything lol.

    Its becoming obvious that the big name “FA” that we went after this offseason was Bruce Arians. Its gonna be fully on the coaches in 2019.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Finallly Joe, this article should have been written at the beginning of FA. But, better late than never.
    After a parade of articles featuring high-profile players we couldn’t afford…no wonder there is a disappointed fan base.
    Dee Ford (multiple) Bell, AB, Honey Badger, Landon Collins, Mosley and countless others…..nope.

    Now…here is the good news for those who justifiably don’t trust Licht. He is not making these decisions in a vacuum. BA and Bowles along with a host of other coaches are deeply involved with this entire process…..every single move….I can guarantee it….
    Licht’s future was tied to the Arians hire and he will gladly give way to BA’s advice….but more likely instructions.

  15. miken Says:

    I don’t think mccoy will be traded bc of contract , but cut? Maybe.
    Maybe Brate get traded to save 7 million. Not sure why BA has so much confidence in this roster maybe he has to

  16. Wesley Says:

    Everyone knows Licht will be gone after this season. It’s just a damn shame we have to waste another year, he should have been fired with Dirk.

  17. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Please do something right Dunce Cap.

    Either trade, restructure or cut Get My Cash.

  18. phattitudes Says:

    Thanks, for the insight into what the Bucs might be thinking. The coaching staff may indeed want to see on the field what they have available to them before they make further cuts. This true both for our veterans and for our recent draftees. The good news is that there is room for more moves. We have to be patient and let the process work. Considering that we have an all new coaching staff, it seems prudent to take a little time to make roster changes. Hopefully there are some diamonds to be found in our recent draftees. Then with a little polishing for the coaching staff, we may fill some of our holes with talent already on the roster.

  19. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Joeypoppems Says:
    March 15th, 2019 at 1:15 pm
    I dont understand the fans tbh. They bash Licht for overpaying for FAs that underperform and now when every team is overpaying for guys in FA they bash Licht for not doing anything lol.”

    They can’t be following the team. If they were then this FA lack of activity should have been completely expected.

    I spent my time bashing Licht during the 2018 season and wanted him fired at THAT time.

    However – he is the only reason we were able to get Bruce Arians – so all I can do is hope he’s learned a lot and that Koetter/Smitty had a big hand in a lot of personnel failures as we saw were obvious with Lovie.

    To come out of the woodwork and get mad at Licht now is just weird to me.

    Worst move he’s made IMO is signing a punter to a deal that may cost us a future 3rd or 4th round pick- not the lack of signings.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs are being very careful and calculated regarding FA signings this year.

    This is mainly because they have so little money to work with – but also because they know if Kwon and Hump both have good seasons – that we are getting a couple nice comp picks next year – as long as the “losses” vs “signings” ratio for qualifying free agents is maintained properly this year.

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    LC – the punter signing was a wash. We let one walk and we signed another for less. Trust me – the Bucs have a solid plan about how many qualifying FAs they will sign vs how many of our “own” they know will ultimately be signed elsewhere and count as “losses”.

  22. Buc1966 Says:

    The elephant in the room is GMC’s contract. Maybe I am missing something?

  23. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    How many times have the Bucs won the off-season only to have the regular season end before November. I’d rather win games.

  24. jmarkbuc Says:


    “10 wins in 2 years… and fans think a coach who is mailing it in and had to be coaxed out of retirement is gonna save us from being a joke? Damn we are a desperate fanbase”

    Sadly, I think i agree…until BA has had a chance to coach at least one practice. Being brash, and having cute little sayings isn’t gonna turn this team around.

    Licht gets way too much credit for bringing in a guy who could very well be collecting vacation pay in a state that has no income tax…already said he won’t be here long.

  25. SteveK Says:

    Idk if I have the patience to sit through another 5-11/worse season with the same GM for 6 years and QB for 5! 2019 will provide answers to our GM and QB positions! So far- not good enough.

  26. scbucsfan Says:

    LC I think as our FAs sign the picks will be there.

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Versatile Will Gholston…”?! Now that is some funny stuff right there.
    People always talk about GMC’s $13 million salary this year.
    Fun Fact:
    Will Gholston 2017 AND 2018 statistics- 46 tackles, ONE sack. TWO YEARS!!!
    Will Gholston combined salary for 2017, 2018- $13.5 million!

    THIRTEEN MILLION FOR 46 TACKLES AND ONE SACK! Over TWO years. That’s some versatility……in getting paid to do nothing!

    Why is he still on the roster? Why is his name brought up in conversations about “versatility” or depth?!
    I’m just posing the question here. WHY?

  28. pelbuc Says:

    This team will not improve until Licht, JW and GMC are gone!!!!

  29. Erik Says:

    Just release Gholston and Benenoch to get Isaiah Cromwell. Evan should be cut. Ryan Smith?
    Trading would be hard Gerald McCoy given his price tag. No way a late third round return. He is a better pass rusher than most DTs.

  30. BucsFIRE Says:

    pelbuc Says:
    “This team will not improve until Licht, JW and GMC are gone!!!!”


    It’s funny that you think this team would actually improve with JW gone.
    JW is the only reason this team has a chance to do anything AT ALL next year.

  31. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We may get comp picks if things continue as they are…..but the round (s) are getting higher because of the Perriman signing ($4mil)…..
    At this point we may get a couple of 5ths ……that is purely speculation because it is a complicated process.

  32. Greg Says:

    @Loyaltotheend, I unfortunately have to agree with you, I also have a feeling BA will be mailing it in for a year or two, then he’ll call it quits. We’ll be stuck with one of his coaches for another couple of years, starting this merry go round all over again.

  33. BucHead5588 Says:

    Gholston stays we’re running a 3-4 now he will be stout against the run

  34. Not there yet Says:

    Lol really you can see 34 yr old player Dotson getting traded for a draft pick. So disappointing so many people in our town hope for other teams being desperate. Trading for Dotson after the draft would be especially desperate and cause to fire a gm. No one is giving up draft capital for that. But the cuts are the most intriguing part of this new regime, can’t wait to see how much b.s. was coming from the interviews

  35. BucAllNight Says:

    OLB Barret signed real nice under the radar addition….

  36. BucsFIRE Says:

    Not there yet Says:
    “So disappointing so many people in our town hope for other teams being desperate.”


    Lol, we only think that because we have been used to seeing the BUCS having to be desperate so many times over the years.

  37. BucAllNight Says:

    Updated LB depth as:
    (Am I forgetting someone guys??)

    ROLB: JPP, Spence
    ILB: David, Cichy,
    ILB: Bucannon, Minter, Beckwith
    LOLB: Barrett, Bond

    Yeah I could def see Devin White at 5
    Go Bucs!!

  38. firethecannons Says:

    Honestly–I hope Jameis does not get a new contract next year unless that kid turns out great this year, I would love to see the Bucs get a new QB in the draft next year and get out of cap hell. Also love to see GMC get cut next year too.

  39. Seminole Bill Says:

    Wonder if BA really (really!) understood the cap situation before he signed on? This is sounding more and more like another 5-11 year.

  40. CC Head Says:

    Look for a Brate and or GMC trade. It’s coming.

  41. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Fireeee Licht!

  42. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…

    average players + horrible coaching = bad football team


  43. stpetebucsfan Says:

    The first crop of “name” FA’s are always grossly overpriced.
    I’m relieved we haven’t gotten into the annual game of geez look how much better we are now with somebody else’s released players.

    There is always a reason players are free to walk. Either talent, injuries, or mental issues generally come into play. Again I get a team that is ONE player away from a SB taking that gamble but who here believes we are just a player away?

    I’m much more optimistic about trades…like JPP. And this year’s draft is loaded with defensive talent. We will get at least one defensive impact maybe two if Licht plays his cards right.

  44. Larry Says:

    5 & 11 for 2 years and still in a cap crunch. Pathetic!!! The Bucs need a new GM in the worst way. Licht needs to go. Look at what Cleveland has done in 2 years. The Bucs have only gone downhill. Why would ANY free agent want to come to Tampa??? The Bucs BETTER have a 5 star draft if Licht wants to keep his job. No matter what , Licht needs to go!!!

  45. FireJasonLicht Says:


  46. neal Says:

    BA knows its going to take more than one off season so fix this team. We have “Won” Free Agency the last two years and what has that got us?

  47. T REX Says:


  48. AlteredEgo Says:

    Just made an excellent signing budget considered…OLB Barrett

  49. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Perfect we finally signed a SAM Backer.

    Welcome to the Squad Shaquil Barrett !!

  50. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Next Jeremiah Attaochu?

  51. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Brandon Copeland?

  52. denjoe Says:

    Jason Licht sucks and were screwed! https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/cap/2019/

  53. TOM Says:

    Here are a few players I think could help the Bucs & be fairly inexpensive: Zach Brown LB, Morris Claiborne CB, Jamie Collins LB, Bashaud Breeland CB, Brian Poole CB, Brent Urban DL, TJ Yeldon RB. Could probably get three by trading or releasing McCoy

  54. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Got a few solid names there TOM

    TJ Yeldon
    Brent Urban
    Jamie Collins
    Bashaud Breeland