Report: Maximum $18 Million Drop For NFL Salary Cap

February 18th, 2021

“Jason, do you think we could just give Lavonte David a Bobby Bonilla deal to save cap room?”

The kingdom of Bucs fans includes loads of dudes and ladies obsessed with which players the Bucs can afford to retain for the 2021 season.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Joe knows Bucco Bruce Arians and Jason Licht publicly stated they believe the whole band can get back together (minus a third-chair tuba or two). But retaining all the key cogs would be miraculous and perhaps unprecedented.

Complicating matters is the league losing significant revenue because of the pandemic, aka The Sickness. And the following season’s salary cap is based on that revenue.

Free agency kicks off in one month and franchise-tag season starts Feb. 23. The NFL is coming down to the wire when it comes to what the 2021 salary cap total will be.

Teams need answers.

This morning, Mike Florio, the curator and creator of, reported that teams were advised the per-team salary cap will be a minimum of $180 million.

“This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustments,” the memo explains. “This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million.”

So the final cap number remains unclear, but things are moving in the right direction. Of course, the league and the union could always agree to keep the cap steady where it was at $198 million last year. Under that scenario, the league powers could agree to sort of borrow the 2021 cap money against future league revenue and not disrupt the market for players.

Owners invest many millions into their front office salaries, so one would think there would be incentive to not blow up what teams have built if it can be avoided.

Regardless, some of the many Bucs free agents aren’t going to be offered what they want from Licht. Hopefully, the NFL Executive of the Year will have just the right touch and feel with his roster and their agents.

29 Responses to “Report: Maximum $18 Million Drop For NFL Salary Cap”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    Licht will really earn his money with these constraints. Obviously can’t keep them all. Choices to be made. But it looks hopeful that nearly all will be back. Will be interesting to watch this play out.

  2. Pewter Power Says:

    Means defense stays in tact and we get cheaper role players. Godwin and gronk stay and now maybe AB. Guys who’ve already taken a pay cut like Brate are probably in trouble maybe even gholston. I wonder if wirfs can play left tackle. The kind of money he’ll command he should make the switch, they’ve done much worse shuffling with the o line in recent years. If he can it would be easy to find a cheap right tackle who can get the job done

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    Before the playoffs, I felt very strongly about keeping Godwin, Gronk, and Barrett, and perhaps parting ways with AB, Suh and Fournette. But after watching the playoffs and considering the outcome, a SB, the decision becomes a bit more complicated. I still think we have to keep Shaq and Gronk. I want to keep Godwin, but we’ve got a good young replacement in Tyler Johnson who showed a lot of promise. I’d prefer we keep Suh and Fournette over Godwin, it we can afford it.

  4. tbbucs3 Says:

    Shaq needs to be a lock. The Bucs have enough depth at WR to replace Godwin if we cant keep them both.

    If no Shaq, then the pass rush will take a serious hit.

  5. Beeej Says:

    Suh doesn’t make a huge amount, he’s still very good, and DE’s don’t grow on trees

  6. lambeau Says:

    The cap is phony–they can afford who they want by pushing payments into the future. Last year each team got $296 M from TV and up to $200 M (Packers) in local revenue (Bucs probably a little less) so I wouldn’t worry about the owners.

  7. Jerry Says:

    Godwin will be VERY difficult to keep. He’s going to get $20 mil a year if he hits FA. Keeping him and Barrett is just not happening.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lambeau … “The cap is phony–they can afford who they want by pushing payments into the future.”

    I hope that Jason Licht doesn’t start thinking that way Lambeau, because come Game 1 we’d be in for a heck of NFL penalty (if we bust the CAP). And if we go ballistic with restructuring contract & “pushing payments into the future” we’ll be back in ‘the Dark Ages’ in no time. The salary CAP is far from perfect I’m sure, but it does help keep somewhat of a ‘level playing field’ when it comes to teams & salaries.

    No question that the owners’ goal is to make money each season, but I think they call that capitalism or free enterprise or something like that Lambeau. And if you or I owned a multi-billion dollar corporation, we’d probably want to make money off it too.

    IMO the fastest way to screw up a business is to push today’s expenses into the future. Our government and many individuals have been doing that for many years now. Look where it’s gotten us … student loans now total over $1.5 TRILLION; our national debt just topped $30 TRILLION, etc. Not a good way to run an NFL franchise, our government, or even our own family finances IMO. But hey, I’m ‘old-school’ so what do I know?

  9. lambeau Says:

    Not difficult to tag Godwin at $16.4 M (projected tag by overthecap); Barrett probably costs around that too APY, but less for 2021.

  10. Beeej Says:

    Yup, that’s where the Eagles are

  11. SKBucsfan Says:

    Deferring is bad. Just looknat Pittsburgh. They deferred Roethlisberger contract now they owe him $41 million this season. That is a lot tied up into one player. Would you trade a Brady, Evans and Jensen for him? I know I wouldn’t.

  12. 6throundpick Says:

    I don’t see the team goal as putting out the same team as last season. In fact, I do not believe that’s a good strategy. It’s a fallacy to say if we have the same team last year (that won), we’ll win it, again.

  13. Rob Says:

    I think Brady will lead the way with restructuring his contract to a lower base salary while adding years and incentives. He does this so current rostered players can get paid and the Bucs can pay new free agents. When Brady does this, it opens the door for other high paid players like Jensen, Smith, Evans, Marpet, Pierre-Paul along with Brate, Howard and Gholston signing extensions. I’m not saying all of them will do it but I think Tom’s leadership will rub off on the majority of them.

    The Bucs have another two or three year window to create a dynasty. Don’t be surprised if Godwin, Suh, Brown, David, Barrett take less money to stay in Tampa. I think situational free agents will beg to come to Tampa to play on this Defense and with Brady.

    Depending on the free agents signings, the Bucs need to address the DT, LT, DE, DB and G/RG in that order.

  14. Waco Says:

    As much as I hate to say it, I think Godwin is gone. The WR room is stacked. I also like Fournette but see him going too. Gronk will stay just to play with Tom. I think we need to look at trading OJ. I like him, but he can’t finish a season. I think Suh will take less money again this year to stay. That leaves Barrett, David and AB. I think it’s doable.

  15. Tvan101 Says:

    I love how everyone seems to forget that there are only a few teams with real spending money and tons of players with big contracts about to get cut. The bucs will be just fine.

  16. Youngbucs Says:

    This is exactly why the nfl is a win now business you have small windows. But some clown 🤡s wanna pay inconsistent players big money give me a break.

  17. Jay Molina Says:

    You are correct in calling Light the NFL Executive of the Year. Even though the actual prize went to the Bills GM, no one can compare with the job Light did building this team through the draft and then bringing in Brady, Fournette, Brown and Gronk to go all-in on the Super Bowl winning season.

    Here’s hoping he can do enough with what he has to keep the key cogs and to attract free agents to replace the players that leave chasing the dollars.

  18. Beej Says:

    Tvan101 Says:
    February 18th, 2021 at 2:34 pm
    I love how everyone seems to forget that there are only a few teams with real spending money and tons of players with big contracts about to get cut. The bucs will be just fine.

    True enough, we’re something like 12th most available cap space in the league. There are near a dozen who are aREADY over

  19. Buccos Says:

    I remember back in 2003 we didn’t run it back very well. We let a lot of players get away and I don’t think we even made the playoffs after winning that Super Bowl. We need to learn from history and try to bring this team back intact. It’s not every day that you have the chance to be back to back Super Bowl Champs.

  20. Beej Says:

    Wow, I just read that Evans only makes $12 million per year, and isn’t HIS deal almost over?

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Bye bye Donnie!

  22. Waco Says:


    What’s amazing about Evans is that he’s already said he will take a pay cut to help keep the team together. Amazing team mate.

  23. Beej Says:


  24. BuccoDav Says:

    Let’s get a couple of things straight…
    Evans did not say he will take a pay cut. He said he will restructure his contract. In my opinion, he is severely underpaid for his talent. (if you can be underpaid making 12 mil a year).
    Brady, making 25 mil a year, is a steal. Winston wanted to fleece the Bucs for 30 mil plus…

  25. Oneilbucs Says:

    Jamies ain’t on the team any more . Now yall blaming Jamies for the salary cap ? The thing is at some point you have to develop your own players and some of yall just don’t understand . Now what we won a championship and back to the bottom for the next 15 years with all these 1 year deals .

  26. Oneilbucs Says:

    Yall think Brady is god ain’t that much leadership in this world . They will be stupid to take a pay cut if they never had a real pay day . They don’t care about rings more than their money. When they getting hurt and they can’t produce then yall will be calling for their head . And the organization will cut them in a hart beat . So I hope all of them brothers get paid because you wouldn’t take a pay cut on your job right now or less you want to keep your job .

  27. Todd Says:

    After checking out of football for the last week, it just hit me.

    I used to obsess about the draft and salary cap and free agency…beginning late December.

    It was almost Pavlovian.

    Wow…what a treat it’s been to:

    1) thoroughly enjoy an extended post season;
    2) witness a boat parade in 80+ degree weather;
    3) not really give a crap about my 182nd mock draft since January 1st since we’re picking at 32 and who the hell knows?!

    I could get used to this.

    Way more fun.

  28. TOM Says:

    All I can say is there are going to be a lot of top notch players being cut.

  29. Joe Says:

    All I can say is there are going to be a lot of top notch players being cut.

    It should be a buyer’s market.