The Bucs’ Three Vowels Of Salary Cap Relief

March 9th, 2019

“Jason, I see fat on my spreadsheet.”

Yes, the Bucs spent a lot of money for crap results the last two years and allocated an NFL fortune for that same group of talent in 2019.

But there are many subtle and simple fixes.

The Bucs have just about no room under the salary cap after signing Donovan Smith, but relief is available. Everyone knows the big names and the big contracts, but the small names are just as intriguing.

Joe will call them the three vowels of cap relief: Anger, Allen and Unrein.

Bryan Anger is a nothing-special punter counting $3 million against the 2019 cap. DE Mitch Unrein missed all of last season with a concussion and he counts $3.75 million against the cap. Nose tackle Beau Allen is $5 million of cap restriction. That adds up to $11.75 million of potential cap relief, if those guys are cut. And let’s pretend for reality purposes that the Bucs replace those three with players earning a total of $2.75 million this season. That’s $9 million of space — probably stud safety Tyrann Mathieu’s salary right there.

There are other options for the Bucs to find money. For example, Ryan Smith and Caleb Benenoch, both in contract years, each will count more than $2 million against the 2019 cap.

Joe’s not too worried about the Bucs finding money for good players. Joe’s much more worried about the overall quality of the roster, mentally and physically, and its ability to win more than it loses this year.

35 Responses to “The Bucs’ Three Vowels Of Salary Cap Relief”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    6.5 on McCoy…I’d like him to restructure and take his 13 million over 2 years guaranteed …6.5 a year and then bye bye

  2. Buc4life Says:

    Let’s start cutting! I hate seeing that we only have $1 million of available cash with Free Agent Frenzy starting tomorrow!

  3. Kobe Faker Says:

    “No money No honey”

    Jason Gump

  4. StoutGospel Says:

    Umm…cutting Allen will not result in a $5 million dollar savings. $1.5 million will hit our cap as dead money. So $ 3.5 cap savings.

    We all know the players by now, they’ve been discussed a ton. Clearly slick Rick Licht thinks he’s just that, because he seems to think that actions on our roster are going to unneccesarily tip his hand, at this point anyway. ALTHOUGH all the other teams manipulating their roster currently can still pull off the additional signings and trades!

    Go Bucs! Get Quinnen!

  5. StoutGospel Says:

    And 1 million dead cap hit for Unrein…

  6. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Isn’t it funny how people quickly turn on GMs and coaches when players don’t work out????

    Jason Licht (our beloved GM) was loved last season for these pickups, and now he’s being thrashed……….LOL

    Guys, this isn’t Madden…..this is the NFL and it’s a buisness and he’s not the only GM that deals with players not working out.

    Considering how bad we’ve struck out in the draft the past few seasons with picks, I’m very surprised Licht is still around.

    He cannot miss is this years draft……..last year sucked……and he’s needs to swallow his pride and cut bait with ROJO the bust and stick MJ stewart at Saftey

    Keep Carlton Davis in the nickel and get rid of the bust Vernon “Marshmellow” Graves III cause he’s straight trash.

    I don’t see how Jason Licht makes it to 2020…………the Glazers will probably get rid of him.

  7. Frank Pillow Says:

    We do not have to be under the cap at the beginning of FA- that come much later/close to the start of the season (including post June 1 cuts). There’s plenty of $ to target key/value additions right here, right now.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Those cuts will be enough to sign our new draft class…….now, who do you cut to bring in those “good players” Joe talks about……
    It’s just not going to happen……maybe 1 good player like the Honey Badger….but that’s it….you can forget a FA G or a FA DE or a FA MLB or a FA WR.

    Remember we still have to sign Peyton Barber and that price went up since he has been lauded by BA & staff…….we have to sign a backup QB…..

    No…..the cap relief will not come from cutting a bunch of smaller salary guys… will come from Djax & GMC………& also probably the smaller salary guys.

  9. StoutGospel Says:


    Ahh buddy ol’ pal.

    “Frank Pillow Says:

    March 9th, 2019 at 9:49 am

    We do not have to be under the cap at the beginning of FA- that come much later/close to the start of the season (including post June 1 cuts). There’s plenty of $ to target key/value additions right here, right now.

    Ummmm…sir, have you ever heard of the Top 51 Rule??? It states that at the BEGINNING of the new league year 2019, all NFL clubs MUST be UNDER the 2019 salary cap for their Top 51 contracts currently on their books, going into the new league year.

    So you’re dead wrong chap! 🙂

    But hey, it’s a nice Saturday morning in Tampa, the sun is out, all good.

    Go Bucs! Land Quinnen!

  10. catcard202 Says:

    This team is not 1 stud FA away from the SB.
    This team is not 2 stud FA away from the SB.

    But this team may be 3 role player FA’s, 1 pre-draft trade & 1 solid draft away from the Playoffs.

  11. BuccYa Says:

    And when the dust settles we will then have 0 guys on the roster to kick the ball at any point in the game. Anger might not be worth the 3 mil I get that, but I’d prefer to over pay him then sweat anytime we have to kick a ball in the game. Pairing no kicking game AT ALL with poor red zone offenses, we might as well just go for it on every 4th down.

  12. down in the dirt Doug Says:

    Bruce is holding his cards close to the vest.Let’s hope BA comes out in free agency swinging like a bad ass desperado belting down whiskey with hot sauce.Cut our weeds and keep ruffle shirted Licht under control.

  13. Pickgrin Says:

    Frank Pillow – There most certainly is NOT “plenty of $” for targeting “additions”.

    Stout Gospel – There is no penalty or dead cap $ involved on either Allen or Unrein if they are cut before March 17th.

  14. Mort Says:

    Anger is fine. Cutting him fixes nothing, unless you just want to go for it every fourth down.

    And unrein and Allen both will free up less space than you say. Do some research Joe. This was a swing and a miss if I’ve ever seen one.

  15. Mort Says:

    Not to mention you left off obvious cut candidates like Gholston and Evan Smith.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    For everyone wanting to cut Beau Allen … not so fast. Bucs have Vea, GMC, Allen & Unrein under contract as DTs (plus IR Stevie T but I’m not holding my breath there). Even if we go primarily with a 3-4 defense (hybrid is much more likely IMO), we’d still need 3 DTs. Vea stays obviously. The other 3 DTs have been talked about as potential cuts. Newsflash: Bucs can’t get by with ONE DT.

    Unrein is as good as gone far as I’m concerned (long-term concussions are nothing to play with). So even if we got GMC to reduce his salary, we’d STILL need a 3rd DT … either Beau Allen OR we draft one fairly high. Both are possibilities at this point. Of course, trade or release GMC to save his $13 mil salary and the whole ballgame changes.

  17. JP_09 Says:

    People seriously want to keep a punter for 3 mil and a back up TE for 7?

  18. JP_09 Says:

    Doesn’t matter how good your punter is if the D can’t stop anybody. Rather have a punter average 20 yards per punt and a D that forces 3 and outs than the punter who averages 45 and a D that’ll buckle like joe when he sees Rachel Watson

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    Maxed cap and 6-10 talent
    Strong work Licht

  20. ATrain Says:

    So the plan is to cut three players for 11 million

    Which isn’t true because we have to have a punter so at best 10 million in savings

    Cut one player and get 13 miiiion G M C
    Trade or Cut DJax another 10 million

    23 million in two players

    Come on
    Really the Punter
    Hahah who save a whole million
    Wow if that

    Cut the 31 year old DT who is out for two games atleast

  21. StoutGospel Says:


    @Joe’s take above didn’t stipulate at all when he was surmising that cuts might be made, and it was almost implied that they could be camp cuts, or after draft cuts once Licht and BA see what fruit the draft does/doesn’t bring our way.

    Thus….after March 17th. AND, since neither salary cap database offers a “by the new league year” drop-down tool, I was of course using the “pre-June 1 cut” drop down for @Joe’s conversation sake.

    Obviously the individual contract does, but I wasn’t trying to bring that to bear, since the Unrein injury settlement would come after March 17th anyway. Plus Allen could be a training camp evaluation based on his depth value, decent contract, both coming obviously after March 17th. They wouldn’t be dealt with prior to March 17th…is the point.


    Go Bucs! Get Quinnen!

  22. JP_09 Says:

    @atrain or the Bucs do what you suggest, what joe suggest and trade brate. Now we have something like 40 mil plus an extra 2nd (yes you could get a 2nd for Brate)

  23. StoutGospel Says:

    But it was a valiant attempt, @Pickgrin 🙂

    Go Bucs! Get Quinnen!

  24. JP_09 Says:

    @ atrain, what about if the Bucs do what joe suggested and what you suggested, plus trade brate for a 2nd (yes you could get a 2nd for brate from the right team), now you have something like 40 mil and an extra 2nd. Now you can use the two 2nds you have to move back up and drafts Chris Lindstrom or a Yondy Cajuste, you know players that will actually get on the field. Then you draft a punter in the 7th or bring in an udfa who would cost next to nothing and be a late pick that could actually contribute.

  25. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    This might be, the most exciting off season we’ve had ever! Change is coming. It’s all on you B.A.
    like so many, I’m tired of the losing. Playoffs…PERIOD!

    JP_09 Says:
    March 9th, 2019 at 10:49 am
    Doesn’t matter how good your punter is if the D can’t stop anybody. Rather have a punter average 20 yards per punt and a D that forces 3 and outs than the punter who averages 45 and a D that’ll buckle like joe when he sees Rachel Watson

    We’ll said JP

  26. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    $3mil for a punter is insane. Just grab an undrafted rookie and pay league minimum. Good a tryout and don’t even ask them to punt, but judge them on their holding skill. I think cutting anger not only saves $$ but helps or field goal game as well. Id be happy to come pack up his locker

  27. TOM Says:

    BA. I’m afraid Licht sold you a bill of goods. No way will this team be in the playoffs this year. Licht has no idea what in the hell he’s doing. Might be the Bucs worse GM ever.

  28. Dubcity06 Says:

    Stud safety? I dont see it

  29. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs are right up against the cap as it sits now – perhaps even a tad over.

    All the cuts that are coming will do is give the Bucs the ability to pay their rookies this year – and resign some key lower salary Buccaneers who will become free agents if not signed as well as replace the players being cut/not re-signed with cheaper options.

    Specifically – the Bucs have to clear:
    – about $9M to pay their rookie draftees
    – $3M to re-sign Peyton Barber (starting RB)
    – $2.5M to re-sign Wester and Liedtke (primary back-up OLinemen)
    – $3M to sign a primary back-up Quarterback
    – $2M for a decent kicker
    – $1M for a decent punter

    That’s roughly $20M right there for payments that absolutely HAVE to happen and doesn’t include the fact that at least some additional $ will be needed to replace the players being cut for cap space reasons…

    Bucs can’t even think about more expensive free agents who would really help this team improve – like the Honey Badger or a starting quality Rt Guard or a vet CB – until the above needs are covered.

    The most likely cuts to save money and do what must be done – + hopefully a little more are:
    DJax – $10M
    Allen – $5M
    Unrein – $3.75
    Anger – $3M

    That’s $21.75M savings from the easiest and most obvious players to let go – and barely covers the above listed necessary signings and $ to pay the 2019 draft class.

    From there it gets harder.

    Other potential cuts that aren’t as obvious because the savings/replacement cost for a similar player is likely about equal – could include:

    – Gholston – $3.75M
    – Benenoch – $2M
    – Evan Smith – $2M

    So there’s almost $8M in “savings” by cutting them – but how much are you going to have to pay to replace those players and the role they would play on the 2019 team? At least half that – right? Probably more…

    Gholston and Smith are about as JAGgy as they come – yet both have a good bit of playing experience – including starting experience – both have been with the team for a # of years and are “invested” as Buccaneers so to speak – and realistically, both of their salaries are pretty darn reasonable this year all things considered.

    The new coaches would likely prefer to have another year with Benenoch to see what they can do with him regarding development as a Tackle I believe…

    You could look at maybe cutting Ryan Smith for a $2M savings – but he’s a very good special teams gunner and also showed visible improvement as a CB last year. So again – how much to replace an experienced special teams ace that also can be a reasonably solid back up defender? Its a wash – or maybe you save $500k.

    That’s it. No other cut options of any significance $ wise.

    Making a number of cuts or even all of them from the above listed options – only serves to allow the Bucs to keep their head above water financially speaking.

    And none of this accounts for re-signing Kwon or Humphries – both of which the Bucs would very much like to re-sign – but probably can’t.

    The only other options left for any significant cap relief is to Trade GMC for a savings of $13M – and/or trade Cam Brate for a savings of $7M. But then you are talking about getting rid of good players who can really help your team win. Just like Hump and Kwon in the same respect.

    Salary cap hell sucks when you haven’t even won anything yet….

    I do believe that the core talent on this team – much of it still quite young – is more than enough for BA and his coaching staff to win with. But a lot of decisions have to be made coming up here very soon and it will be very interesting to see the moves that will be made by the Bucs between now and the end of the draft.

    Seems to me that BA is intending to go 11-5 with Dirk’s back to back 5-11 team largely still intact…. Which would obviously show Jason Licht in a whole new – um – Licht….

  30. Not there yet Says:

    Licht is too emotional and can’t be trusted to move on from the lovable losers because he keeps signing them every year and soon we’ll be cutting aged veterans again who go the Keith Tandy route but are like 28 years old and still developing. I think this may be the year the glazers realize the meat head doesn’t know how to manage the roster unless he manages to draft like 3 starters but still don’t trust him with the roster and hopefully BA has final say on the 53

  31. eric Says:

    honey badger a stud huh oh ok! Don’t waste nine million dollars on a small safety who is ok get a few pieces with that money not a guy who is not the second coming of Ed Reed no matter what people say!

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    Excellent analysis Pickgrin. There is one adjustment though that can be made to the Spotrac numbers ( that lead me to believe that we’re actually somewhat better off than what they say we are right now. As of today, they show us with 61 players under contract. The total for the Top-51 comes to $191,278,551 (after including base salaries, signing bonuses, roster bonuses and workout bonuses). Subtract that from our adjusted Salary Cap ($192,700,000) and we have $1,421,449 left to play with. Peanuts IOW.

    But there are about a dozen lesser-known players who we probably won’t keep once the draft is over but who now count against the Top-51 rule. Players like IR Stevie T, Anderson (K), Ledbetter (DT), O’Connor (DE), Brent (WR), Callahan (QB) and a number of others. Granted they only make say an average of $600K each, but out of the Top-51 I’d guess that at least 15 of them will be gone (to make room for draft picks & FAs), leaving us with 36 from the Top-51 list. That’s another $9 mil right there. Cut DJax, Unrein & Anger and that adds another $16.75 (none of those 3 have any dead money against them). That brings us up to between $27.2 mil of salary Cap space to cover draft picks & FAs. Since the projected draft pool will cost about $9.2 mil, that’d leave us with $18 mil to cover our free agent acquisitions.

    Not much I know given how many ‘holes’ we have to fill, and yet not so dire that we can’t do anything at all. With that would definitely like to see us re-sign Barber ($3 mil), Griffin ($1.5 mil), Wester ($1.5 mil), Taylor ($2.5mil), Minter ($1.5 mil), Lynch ($1.5 mil) and Adams ($2 mil) as a minimum (total of $13.5 mil). That’s 7 guys right there; add in the 6 draft picks and that’s covers replacing 13 of the 15 from the Top-51 who probably won’t make the team. That’d still leave us with $4.5 mil to sign 2 FAs. Not enough for a veteran CB & RB, but if GMC ‘restructures’ and we save another $5 mil (now up to $9.5 mil excess) MIGHT be able to get both.

    Thousands of other ways to manipulate the numbers I’m sure. Only point being that all is not lost … UNLESS we try to sign one big name. Then we’re toast. Stick with our guys, coach ’em up, draft well and hope for the best this year.

  33. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I seen sooo many different calculations about our cap my head in spinning.

    Is there anyway to snag a really short interview with Licht to help clarify. I realize he’s not about to divulge his plans about the draft or FA’s or who will get cut. But perhaps he could answer just two fundamental questions.

    #1 Do Licht and the Bucs have a guy designated as a “capologist” or does Licht simply handle that himself?

    #2 How much do the Bucs believe we are under the cap after the DS signing with no questions about who gets drafted or who else gets cut. Just curious as to where the Buc’s management believes we stand right now.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    Not sure who is correct but Overthecap has Beau Allen as freeing up only $3.5m with $1.5m in dead space. I’m cutting him either way since he brings nothing to the table, but I’m not sure if the $5m is correct or not.

    Also Evan Smith makes $2m, he should be gone as he’s worthless. Gholston makes $3.75m, and while I’d probably keep him around if they are switching to a 3-4, I also don’t think anyone would notice if he was gone. Benenoch just started all last year for you, and I wouldn’t throw him away before camp even starts – I’d let him compete during the preseason. Same with Ryan Smith, who I hate and who I think is awful, I’d still let this new coaching staff take a look at him and see if he brings anything to the table – perhaps better coaching would make him go from -14 to like -3 on a 0 to 10 scale.

    Finally David only has 2 years left on his deal. Wow, time flies by. He’s going to be older, but he has to show any signs of slowing down and seems like a guy that should play until he’s like 33-34 years old. The Bucs could create some space, and lock him up a bit longer, by extending him.

    Then obviously there’s McCoy. Said all along I want to keep McCoy, but if the rumors that the Bucs might pursue a guy like Bell is true, then shop McCoy and see what you can get to free up that cap space. I’m not really for dumping McCoy to get the Honey Badger, because a good safety isn’t doing much when there is no pass rush – and anyone who thinks the team pass rush is better without McCoy is a moron.

  35. Getaclue Says:

    Anger is the only constant in our kicking woes. He’s been the one holding the ball