Not Very Active

March 5th, 2019

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

The free agent dinner bell will be ringing a week from tomorrow.

It’s Christmas in March for many Bucs fans who are eager to see what Santa Licht will stash under the Christmas tree display that lump of coal DeSean Jackson trashed a year ago.

But Jenna Laine of ESPN offers words of caution before Bucs fans get too excited. Because the Bucs are very close to being in salary cap hell, Laine doesn’t believe Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht will be very active this NFL holiday season.

The Bucs currently have just $19 million in cap space with an unsigned left tackle in Donovan Smith, who will be arguably their biggest priority (keep in mind that they will need $9 million for their rookie pool). It might also mean parting ways with Kwon Alexander and Adam Humphries. They’ll try to maneuver some cap space around, offering players more guaranteed money upfront and making some cuts, but this isn’t looking like a blockbuster year unless they can move some money.

What Laine types is accurate, but Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs’ salary cap situation is dire quite yet. With a little creative shuffling, Licht should actually be able to strengthen his roster despite counting nickels.

Let’s just take a look at a few players who better hope they are renting and what their salaries are, per

Beau Allen $5,000,000
Bryan Anger $3,000,000
Caleb Benenoch $2,088,297
Will Gholston $3,750,000
DeSean Jackson $10,000,000
Evan Smith $2,000,000
Mitch Unrein $3,750,000

Of those players, Allen, Benenoch, Smith and Unrein are all backups — well, Benenoch should be. And if you are a backup on a team that has been in last place 8 of the last 10 seasons, you have no business making seven-figures.

Just between Allen, Smith and Unrein’s salaries Licht could purchase linebacker C.J. Mosley. With Jackson’s salary, Adam Humphries likely could be kept and still have a little left over for John Brown. Benenoch’s salary could easily buy Leonard Wester and Mike Liedtke back. Why Liedtke wasn’t given more of an opportunity to play guard instead of Benenoch is a headscratcher.

And this isn’t even factoring in Gerald McCoy’s $13 million which would likely buy safety Landon Collins and a veteran corner.

Yes, the Bucs are in a salary cap pinch. It doesn’t mean they are boxed in without any options to upgrade.

36 Responses to “Not Very Active”

  1. DooshLaRue Says:

    I like your thinking on this Joe.

  2. Mike Says:

    Our GM is such a tool- he really sucks

  3. Kobe Faker Says:

    “No Money, No Honey…

    Back 2 back 5 win seasons and we are broke?

    Teflon Gump the Magician…which Glazer does he have pictures of?

    Kobe Faker knows Forrest like the back of his hand

    Gump is going to screwup the 1st round pick…

    Gump is dreaming of chicken wings”

    Kobe Faker

  4. Mort Says:

    You know they would sign Mathieu and not Collins, right?

  5. StoutGospel Says:

    Mike Greenberg is really the genius. Not Gump Stump Licht. Greenberg furthered and perfected the clean-books strategy of front loading guaranteed $$$ in our player’s contracts, adding Roster bonuses for a lot of it, to keep dead money off the books. Greenberg is the unsung hero with all of that, for sure. BUT THIS YEAR…they both need to really push all the limits, both in using all available cap space, but also perhaps, pushing that limit of “no future dead money” possibility, into more like enticing a few critical additions and re-signed players with signing bonuses, which bring the prospect of future dead money back into play.

    Start earning your keep EVEN MORE, bean-counters! 5-11 ain’t getting it done.

    Go Bucs!

  6. BucHead5588 Says:

    Don’t for get will Gholston but now with the 3-4 switch he might be looked at as a good DE in this system but he is to expensive for no production

  7. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Joe you realize this is Licht, the most reactive GM these moves you mentioned are pro active and forward thinking.

    Worst GM in the division

  8. doolnutts Says:

    I don’t think we will be active on the “top tier” folks this year. We are more likely to be signing value & depth based players. I expect an influx of former Cards & Jets players. I still think Morris Claiborne is someone to watch. He signed back to back 1 year deals with the Jets so I really wouldn’t be surprised if he made his way to us. Again it isn’t a stunning move but I don’t expect many earth-shattering moves this offseason.

  9. StoutGospel Says:

    🙂 🙂

    Maybe I’ll Fedex some Kleenex’s over to JoeBucsFan world headquarters..too.

    Go Bucs!

  10. Colonel Angus Says:

    Bucs don’t have to be under the cap til September. They can sign any player they want and worry about getting under the cap later.

  11. ben Says:

    Wow ..Light is still a gm… WHY??

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t forget we need to sign a backup QB & Peyton Barber……and a Kicker.

    So..take the $14 mil for DSmith & the $9 for the draft picks and we are $4 mil short for the above 4 players…….without dumping Djax…..WE HAVE NO MONEY FOLKS>>>>AND JOE.

    You could cut a bunch of money by cutting a bunch of players….but the big money is with Djax & GMC….

    We simply don’t have the money to bring in high-priced FAs…..

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Above 3 players….not 4….

  14. AlteredEgo Says:

    LOL…BucLuck….in a year where there are actually more than a few young FA’s fitting the Bucs needs….Licht has maxed out his Credit Card with high priced purchases that didn’t work out and are already in the NFL landfill….he’ll be window shopping this year and shopping at the pawn shops for 2019 refills

  15. macabee Says:

    Cutting and pasting more than a snippet of someone else’s published work is not permitted here. Thank you. –Joe

  16. VFL98 Says:

    And just think people think LICHT is doing great!! HA HA!!! Would love to have what there smoking!!

  17. AlteredEgo Says:

    Kwon offered long term deal…breaking news

  18. SB Says:

    What about the $11 mil cap increase. Shouldn’t that be added to the $19 mil?

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Great analysis Macabee. I agree that we can end up around $50 mil or so with some cuts and restructures, but that’d leave us with those holes to still fill. Replacements for players like Allen & Gholston can be drafted, but that’s a lot of snaps to expect out of rookies. Agree with what I think is your ‘bottom line’ though … we have a lot more flexibility than many think we do. It’ll take some creative thinking and tough negotiating, but it’s doable. I’m not a big Jason Licht fan admittedly, but I do have a lot of faith in Bruce Arians & Todd Bowles. Still convinced they’ll drive the train.

  20. StoutGospel Says:

    We shall see @Macabee, we shall see indeed! Like all your input there.

    Like I mentioned, Greenberg is the man.

    Go Bucs! Land Quinnen!

  21. Dubcity06 Says:

    Yes to all of this except keeping Hump, cutting GMac, cutting Anger, and singing Brown.

  22. joestang Says:

    might be just as well that we are not as active in free agency because we have a GM that can’t evaluate talent and would end up blowing the money anyhow. How pitiful

  23. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Pure fantasy, Joe

    Benenoch and DJax aren’t getting cut
    Allen probably isn’t getting cut either as he provides quality depth.
    Humphries won’t be back unless he’s willing to accept $6 million per year
    Forget J Brown- he wants multiyear contract
    McCoy may restructure or get moved, but probably will stay at current pay
    Alot of special teams players from last year won’t be back

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sure we can cut a bunch of players…..that is an option for most teams……but they will need to be replaced with players at least as good for less money to make it worth while.

    Much will depend on Todd Bowles because for the exception of Djax, most of the decisions are on the defensive side.

  25. 813bucboi Says:

    cut allen, urein, e.smith, benenoch

    restructure GMC, gholston

    let djax, humphies walk….


  26. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Nothing to add because I agree totally with Joe’s thoughts!

  27. Bobby M. Says:

    Look at that list….not sure why we are eager to shop in free agency when we are cutting all the players Licht has signed during previous free agencies. This is yr 6….and we’re still holding out hope Licht will figure out free agency?

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    Why? Why is Gholston still on this roster? Someone? Anyone?

  29. Jason S. Mclaurin Says:

    I’m confident in the cap situation but the negotiating has to start going our way. Kwon will not get more than $6 mill in free agency hump is going to get paid but we move on from Barber we could bring him back at this point. We cut a few offensive lineman and bring Kwon back keeping our best draft class together. There’s also now free agents from that same draft class( Collins and Mosely.) I’m guessing Allen and Dotson but we may have to sacrifice more to bring those guys in as well as the Honey Badger. Maybe some restructure happens with a few of these guys like McCoy, JPP, and LVD would go along way as well

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucsfanman Says:
    “Why? Why is Gholston still on this roster? Someone? Anyone?”

    LOL – You sound like me LAST year. Bucs could have cut Gholston in early March last year with no penalty or dead money. But they let the deadline pass and then his $6.5M salary in 2018 became guaranteed. SMFH

    Will is a “bargain” this year comparatively at a mere $3.75M…

    As far as I can tell – each time a new DL coach comes in here – he takes a look at Gholston and says – “Wow look at that size – that physique – this dude is almost a perfect physical specimen – surely I can turn him into a good player – all his other coaches probably sucked…”

    Oh – and plus he’s “versatile” – (which in this case means zero push on the pocket from both outside AND inside…)

  31. Pickgrin Says:

    I would keep Evan Smith for $2M as a pretty solid insurance policy in case interior OL injuries were to start piling up (God forbid)

    Everyone else on that list I would dump. Which clears approximately $27M in cap space. I would also look to trade McCoy and hope to get at least a 3rd or 4th rd pick for him – that clears another $13M so now there is $40M total off the books.

    According to Spotrac – with the $14M franchise tag designation for D. Smith already figured in – the Bucs are right at the cap # now.

    $9.1M (estimated) is whats needed for the rookie pool.

    So after securing the LT spot – if the Bucs dump all of the above and trade McCoy – they will have about $30M to “work with” heading into free agency.

    Here are signings that basically HAVE to happen

    Peyton Barber – $3M (starting RB – for now)
    Wester + Liedke – $3M (primary OLine depth)
    Back up QB – $3M
    Kicker – $2M
    Punter $1M

    That brings the available amount to spend down to $18M after those “necessary” signings.

    Bucs would also like to bring Hump back for around $6M. But won’t. Because the market is allegedly pushing his price up paying $8M for a 3rd WR is a luxury that we just can’t afford. I DO believe the Bucs will re-sign Kwon Alexander for about $7M – so with that # added, the Bucs would only have about $11M left to work with heading into free agency.

    The targets should be the Honey Badger for $7M and Ramon Foster for $4M.

    And POOF – the money is all spent.

    Bucs will need to draft extra heavy on DL this year as well – because with all those cuts you just gutted your DLine and have no more $ for vet FAs…

  32. IBelieveinJameis Says:

    This is all the more reason why Bucs should be looking to trade down from 1.05 and pick up several other quality picks to re-stock the cupboards. I’d rather see us build a few key spots (secondary, both lines) through the draft anyway.

  33. Jeff Perry Says:

    They don’t need a 3 million a year punter either!

  34. Bucsfanman Says:

    Pickgrin- Cut him and move on, sheesh! I don’t understand why we hold on to these guys. He has done absolutely nothing for the Bucs the entire 6 years he’s been here, SIX!!!

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    Cut Ryan Smith, $2m.
    Trade Brate, $7m.

    There’s another $9m, and Brate should be worth at least a 4th rounder.

    Bucs don’t have too many cap issues if they start dumping guys.

  36. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Kobe Faker Says:
    Teflon Gump the Magician…which Glazer does he have pictures of?

    Hopefully it’s Darcy.