Squeezing The Cap

February 21st, 2021


As we all know, the Bucs must do mathematical hopscotch to keep the Super Bowl-winning band together. Likely, someone the Bucs want to keep of the Big 8 will play elsewhere or not at all in 2021.

Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Pro Football Network doesn’t know how the Bucs can keep the Big 8. He does, however, have thoughts about who they should keep.

That leaves [Lavonte] David, the heart and soul of the Buccaneers’ defense for a decade, but also a 31-year-old who is beginning to decline. David will be hard to replace — he and Devin White allowed the Buccaneers to stay in nickel defense in situations where most teams would use six or seven defensive backs — but it would take a significant hometown discount to fit David under the cap.

Add it all up, and the Buccaneers are likely to lose a significant piece or two, plus some role players. They may be able to squeeze an impact free agent arrival in somewhere, especially with the prospects of playing with Tom Brady. However, that’s only if they let just about everyone except Barrett and Gronk walk.

That’s the thing: It will be a buyer’s market out there for competent free agents. One or more might want to ring chase at a discount with park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, trophy-throwing Super Bowl-winning Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.

The trick for AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht will be, who can he replace with a competent free agent at a lower price than the original Bucs Super Bowl-champion?

49 Responses to “Squeezing The Cap”

  1. Allbuccedup Says:

    Salary adjustments and trading or releasing OJ would free up some serious cap space. Howard only played in three or four games this year his injury history is something that leaves a lot to be desired. The Bucs played all year with Gronk and Brate. Draft a tight end in Day three of the draft.

  2. Mort Says:

    Shaq. He will go break someone else’s bank.

  3. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Joe: I asked you before but never went back to see if you answered me.
    Have you heard if the TV revenue deals will be done before they set the new Cap Limit? There is no way to know. Has to be approved by the owners. Second, cap is based on previous season’s total revenue. Exceptions can be made.–Joe
    If so isn’t it possible that the Cap might even go up?

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Just about every playoff team puts a sizable chunk of their salary CAP into their DLine & OLine. Smart teams IMO draft at least 1 DLineman & 1 OLineman every year because teams normally carry at least 16 Big Guys on their roster … 30% of the roster, so that’s typically 2 of our 7 draft picks each year. Not rocket science.

    What does approach rocket science though is DEVELOPING those draft picks into either starters (like ME13, Godwin, RoJo, Donovan, Marpet, Cappa & Wirfs on our offense and LVD, Vea, White, Davis, SMB, Whitehead & Winfield on our defense ) or into key rotational players (like Dean, Gholston & Nelson on our defense). All 14 of those starters mentioned (almost 2/3rds of our starters) were key to us winning the Super Bowl, and right now the Bucs are paying for their past success in ‘developing our own’. IMO that’s a good thing; we KNOW what we’ve got in those guys. To the degree that we can, I think we’d be wise to stick with them at least another year since they were essential to our SB run.

    But even then, all of our ‘home-grown talent’ needed to be supplemented with some strong FA signings (like Brady, Gronk, Brate, Brown, Fournette, Suh, Shaq, JPP, etc). And all of those strong FA contributors need to either be re-signed in 2021/2022 OR be replaced. Other teams will come sniffing around for sure, and I seriously doubt ANY of those more recent FA signings will be looking to give us a ‘hometown discount’. NFL’s a business, and those players are coming off a very productive & successful year. They’ll want to cash in, and rightfully so.

    All Bucs’ management … and all of us … can do at this point is let this thing play out. It’s fun to speculate, but that’s all it is … SPECULATION at this point. Still, it keeps the off-season from getting boring, especially during these COVID times. Appreciate you both Joes.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This is fu^ccin’ exciting…..we just finished the season and right away we are in the middle of FA discussions…….wow….no talking about it for 4 or 5 months….I could get used to this.

    I hate it but the key is not to hand out a huge salary to one player……although we could probably afford one….

    $20 for Shaq could be divided into LVD, Gronk, Suh

  6. Brandon Says:

    OJ Howard has a guaranteed contract. Why all the know nothings keep advocating to release a fairly cheap and talented player that would give us ZERO cap relief.

    Attention dumb dumbs… The Bucs already picked up the 5th year option on Howard. His contract is guaranteed.

  7. DoooshLaRue Says:


    What is your breakdown for that scenario?
    7,7,6 million?

  8. Cobraboy Says:

    Players WANT a long-term dealio. Of course, they do.

    But agents are also realistic enough to know this is not the year it’s going to happen with a first-time-ever drop in the cap.

    I won’t be surprised if a whole bunch of one-year deals are done this offseason, with the expectation of the long-term deal next year, assuming a big bump in the cap, now that “the sickness” in crashing.

    This might not be a bad year to get franchised. (glances at drooling Shaq, Chris & LaVonte…)

  9. TOM Says:

    Let everyone walk except Gronk & Shaq. What are you effin nuts? So we got another so called expert heard from. (idiot) I’m getting to the point where I’m a little fed up with all this Shaq crap. As far as I’m concerned he price himself right out of here. Going to break the bank. Give me a break. You may think I’m crazy but the most important signee may be Succup. Hardest to replace. Of course I do believe Gronk is right up there. After that who knows. I’m really tired of these so called experts talking through there ass.

  10. TampaTown Says:

    I think sadly we lose Chris Godwin. But maybe that allows us to keep everyone else. It’s going to su¢k no matter who goes.

  11. QUE589 Says:

    LVD, Suh, Gronk, Succoop, AB will re-sign

    Barrett, Godwin, Fournette are gone

    Yannick Ngakoue, Curtis Samuels, Todd Gurley will be Bucs free agent signings

  12. Beej Says:

    I have to think a middle linebacker who is effective in pass coverage is more rare than a outside LB who can rush the qb

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    I’m thinking long-term deal for LVD with 6 in the first year….
    7 each for Gronk & Suh…..

    Gronk could do 2 years if Brady extends another year.

    Of course, that could be wishful thinking….but I think it’s close.

  14. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some Godwin. However, of all of the big needs he is the most expendable. I hope we keep him. If it is him or LVD/Shaq? It should be him.

  15. Snook Says:

    Bucs will make room by using 2022 space for 2021 guys. Not to worry.

  16. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Can’t we back load contracts with easily reachable incentives that don’t count against the Cap?

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m thinking at the last minute the NFL & owners will come through with more cap money…..
    This cap situation in 21 will reek havoc with Free Agents’ salaries…..

  18. Pewter Power Says:

    AB and playoff lenny are at the bottom of the list for a reason and you guys know damn well fournette is a goner and AB is a luxury just like cam brate was. Those two are last option so it ain’t really a big 8 and they don’t have to resign them all to repeat. Chiefs got back to the super bowl with a rookie running back. Lenny is easily replaced and AB replacement is already here. We need to stop like our offense will suffer without fournette and AB. Defense is another story we gotta have those guys, Brady just has to make due with what he got unless he giving AB some of his salary to be resigned

  19. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Gurley? Uh no. He was done two years ago.

  20. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I don’t want to lose David and the 2 players are not equal but Kwon can likely be signed cheaply.

  21. Bird Says:

    No way in hell :

    Lvd is not playing for 6-7 a year. The discount would be 10

    Gurley is coming here . He has no value what so ever. He wasnt even getting many touches by end of year for atlanta

  22. BFFL Says:

    Young talent takes priority and that’s Godwin

  23. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Couple things to think about…

    Does Mike Edwards essentially do Lavonte’s job? Meaning, cover TEs. Edwards at this point is a starting caliber safety and isn’t on the field that much.

    Is William Gholston and his semi-big contract necessary? Could we bulk Nelson up and put him there, and/or, bring in Watt for Will’s money? Solving Gholston at least maybe brings back Suh.

    Can a combo of Johnson, Miller, and Watson effectively replace Godwin and AB? Watson is ridiculously forgotten.

    I want everybody back, just looking for secret ways to save money. Licht has built starter-level depth (hello Aaron Stinnie).

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We have to try to keep our defense together……I think we have most of our offense under contract…

    Need to keep Gronk….can make do at WR without Godwin & AB if needed….

    I would really, really, really like to keep LVD……sign him to a longer term contract than most teams would offer….I think he’s good for it….and means a lot to our team….just keeping Devin White happy would be worth it.

  25. Buczilla Says:

    David is on the decline?!? I saw zero evidence of that this year. Still, at 31, it’s gonna happen sooner rather than later. Hopefully, a moderate raise over 2-3 years gets him back. If not, it was great watching him play over the last ten years.

  26. tbbucs3 Says:

    “I have to think a middle linebacker who is effective in pass coverage is more rare than a outside LB who can rush the qb”

    Not at all true…. Mahomes was enjoying a 2 year NFL honeymoon until a team finally was able to smack him in the mouth by rushing 4. A good pass rush always beats good coverage.

    Lavonte David was here from 2013-2018, how was the defense during that period? Not very good.

    Do some fans really want to get back to a team with no pass rush? Short memories some have.

    Pay Shaq.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    Buczilla … I also saw zero evidence that LVD is on the decline. Todd Bowles defense is fairly complex & VERY demanding IMO, especially of ILBs because of all the blitzing that our defense does. Folks who say that David has ‘declined’ aren’t looking at the FACTS: LVD’s performance has been rock steady these past 2 seasons under Bowles.

    And his durability IMO is unmatched. In his 9 seasons as a Buc, he’s only missed a total of 7 games & has AVERAGED over 1,000 defensive snaps each season. That’s Ironman territory.

    Athlon Sports ranked him #6 at the start of the 2020 season, and I suspect he moved up this past year. I like what they wrote about him … “David has been one of the most athletic and productive players at his position since the Bucs selected him in the 2012 draft. And since his rookie season, no other NFL player has more solo tackles than David’s 724, which is one indication of how quickly he gets to the ballcarrier and how suddenly he’s able to shut things down when he gets there.”

    Lavonte added 82 solo tackles this past year, bringing his total to 806 … still ranks #1 in that significant category. Doesn’t really sound like someone whose skills are decreasing to me. I’d love to see the Bucs give him a 4-yr contract with 2 yrs guaranteed.

  28. Bucfanforever Says:

    The people that are going to get heartbroken are the FAs. If the cap drops significantly, the Bucs still have the 7th most space. There isn’t much money for these players to be paid this year, the ones that are smart are going to have to be flexible with the front office. A $20 mil/year player is going to play for $8 mil or play for the Jets.

  29. Bucs Guy Says:

    What do you absolutely need to keep? A LB who can cover and a solid K. So must sign LVD and Succop. Edge is also difficult to replace. Need to decide if you sign Shaq or go FA. I would rather sign a proven FA over hoping for the 8th best Edge rusher (picked at #32) to pan out. You don’t have those replacements on the team and probably can’t draft them with certainty. You have a WR replacement on the team already. RBs can be found in FA and the draft easily. Gronk will re-sign or retire.

    What can you replace through the draft? Not saying replace them all, but Edge in 1st, RB in 2nd, DT in 3rd, WR in 4th, TE in 5th, WR and RB in 7th. No matter who stays, the Bucs need to look at drafting a DT and RB for the future. If keep a few others, OT and O-line also need long term consideration.

    Who must take less to stay because they aren’t worth their current salary and are on the down side due to age – Gronk, Suh

    Contacts to renegotiate – Jensen, Marpet, D Smith, Brate, Gholston, Pinion. Get you $5-7M.
    Maybe Evans and Brady for another $2-4M. Doubt JPP will renegotiate.

    Thinking out of the box. What other cap options could you consider?
    Release D.Smith, move Wirfs to LT and draft a RT. Risky, but this is a $14M pick up.
    Trade OJ for a draft pick and draft his replacement. $6M adder.
    Release Gholston, use his salary on Suh and draft his replacement. Who do you value more – Suh or Gholston?
    Something the Bucs don’t like to do – guarantee $ for longer periods with low $ in the first year. This could lead to cap hell if there are major injuries or performance tanks.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Only one thing is certain…..Licht earned his money last year and will definitely earn it next year……he is pretty good at cap management but this year will really test his skills.

  31. Buczilla Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    Agreed, David has been the Rodney Dangerfield of linebackers almost every year since he has been in the league. He’s a shoo-in for our ring of honor, he’s a champion, and has made a boatload of $, so screw the national writers. 🙂

  32. Bucs Guy Says:

    What other FAs should the Bucs keep at the right price? Ryan Smith, Nunez-Roches, Gabbert, Auclair, Minter, Wells, Andrew Adams, Stinnie

    What other FAs should the Bucs let walk? Haeg, Griffin, McCoy, Shipley (retire), Auclair

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect many FA’s will be signing one-year deals. This is not the year to “break the bank” on a long-term deal with a first-ever major cap reduction. That may be next year with “normalcy” returning to the world, including sports.

    This is a good year to get franchised.

    Fingers crossed major network deals are struck to keep the cap where it is currently; this is a real possibility, and we will know before the league year starts. No need to make major moves until you know what the numbers are going to be.

    Unless, like the Kitties, you’re clearing space for a Watson dealio.

  34. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Sign Barrett, tag Godwin, let Fournette and AB walk, sign Gronk, Suh and Succop. LVD is the wild card. Rework the contract of Jensen and D Smith.

  35. Bobby M. Says:

    There’s going to be a ton of players released across the league….keep in mind we found Shaq as a quality back up, there are other Shaq’s out there. JJ Watt, Von Miller, I’m certain there’s others that can step in and create havoc with the front seven we have.

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    @Cobraboy … “This is a good year to get franchised.” Agree with you on that, but I still doubt that the Bucs will franchise tag anyone. Godwin & Barrett are the 2 most likely to be franchised, and they’d both cost too much. I do however think that we might transition tag one of them like TBBF proposed yesterday (comp picks are a beautiful thing).

    Bucs Guy … Just can’t see not re-signing Auclair. The big guy turned into a heckuva blocker IMO, and if we keep Brate over OJ (which I personally think we will), we’ll need a 2nd blocking TE to go with Gronk (Brate’s fantastic at receiving, but I’ve never heard anyone praise him for his blocking prowess).

  37. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I’ve seen on previous posts about how some people think the Bucs couldn’t find a good pass rusher in the 1st Round, with the 32nd pick. I looked up the top sack leaders for 2020, the average draft spot for top 19 who WERE drafted, the average draft spot for those 19 was 31.7 (pretty close to 32). If you put the undrafted players in there who were in the top 22, (Romeo Okwara, Kerry Hyder, and Shaq) the draft spot would be a about 62, close to where the Bucs pick in the 2nd Round. It might take a rookie a year to get acclimated to the pros, so signing a veteran is a must, whether it be Shaq or Von Miller, etc.

  38. MadMax Says:

    Sorry guys, Godwin (God-Win) isnt going anywhere! Franchise if we have to. Look at the receivers Mahomes hit right in the facemask in the SB!! Ive watched it 4 times now….It couldve been a closer game. You KEEP great pass catchers, route runners and cerebral players….and a Brady weapon…he’s one of them.

    Shaq showed he’s worth a lot but will be too expensive (also showed his disappearing act when Big V was missing), that says to me we need to be prepared to pay Big V when the time comes.

    Im still thinking Haason Reddick can be had much cheaper than Shaq. And for some reason, I think AB and Lenny will find a way to stay but get a little more coin…ALL want that 2 in a row legacy.

    Then we pick up JJ Watt
    Draft Mac Jones, Jackson Carman, Darius Stills (like you said Defenserules, one on each side)….the building blocks are in place for a future dynasty…A BUCS dynasty….

    screw 2 in a row I WANT AS MANY IN A ROW AS I CAN GET! MAKE IT 11 in a row!!! One for each finger and one for the C*CK!

  39. Jerk04 Says:

    Can we please get a comment from the coward Ndog. It’s amazing what a coward he is after all that talk and no set to show his face. We know you still come on here and probably even post under a new name. But be a man and take your beating like a good little chump

  40. Jerry Says:

    Franchising Godwin will still cost a lot of money. We may not even have the money to do that.

  41. Oxycondoms Says:

    Bowles and arians will know who to keep .
    I think its no coincidence licht is doing better as a gm with bowles and arians inputs. David probably odd man out due to age

  42. Oxycondoms Says:

    Then again if accountability is truly a deciding factor for arians. Maybe shaq walks and lvd stays. Breaking the bank isnt quite the accountable thing to do

  43. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    When Shaq made the break the bank statement, the statement before was about how much he loved Todd Bowles and he knows this is the right defense for him. I think the statement is a negotiating tactic. I think he’s coming back and already knows it and I don’t believe he’ll price himself off of this team. It’s like Arians had said, we are going to lose 1-2,but I trust BA and JL. Go Bucs! Back to Back!!!

  44. Oxycondoms Says:

    The knock against godwin would be there will be wrs wanting to play with brady at a discount.

  45. Blue Coffee Says:

    L David in decline? What??
    The guy is a stud! This journalist is from Mars or what?
    Yes he is 31 years old. It’s not a crime! Older players can still be good. Better than another younger player who is not used to our Def. This Def has finally hit the mark where we want it to go! David is better than ever for god s*#@&&&!

    OK i’m not objective when we talked against my BUCS perhaps,… my wife will tell you so. But still!

    David is not finished. This is nuts. Sign him! (David, not this Journalist,… &*$#)
    GO BUCS!

  46. adam from ny Says:

    it’s entertaining watching all you guys play gm…

  47. MadMax Says:

    ^ yeah its make believe but its fun, especially when it plays out in your favor and youve been doing it and nailing it for years lol

  48. 20 Year Patriot's Fan> Says:

    Love all the GM talk.
    Do you realize how close you are to winning back to back SB.
    Look at the Patriots after they won 2003 and 2004 SB.
    ***First though must point out attrition> you lose Brady or a some
    of your top 10 players to year ending injury> Ouch! But Tampa has tremendous depth.
    ***Brady had slot receiver Troy Brown in 2003, 2004> hate to say it but you must franchise Godwin> great slot receiver. Pats had RB Corey Dillon.
    Your Lenny in Playoffs was Bone Crusher like Corey Dillon.

  49. 20 Year Patriot's Fan> Says:

    You all have a great chance repeating. The only thing you cannot control is attrition. Stay generally healthy Tampa Bay. You have tremendous players and depth. Brady in back to back 2003 and 2004 had a great slot receiver in
    Troy Brown and Bone Crushing Running back Corey Dillon! Hate to do it>
    but you must franchise great slot receiver Godwin and have RB Lenny
    ready for playoffs. Fell in love with Bucs this year after Atlanta Falcons comeback and onward. ***Look at NO, GB in NFC> much weaker next year do to Salary Cap etc. On AFC side KC back in SB next year if Patrick and Brady stay healthy! Tough call on your great, physical, swarming defense!
    ***You have a young, great secondary too. One of your key defensive players may have to walk the plank. But STRIKE THE IRON WHILE IT’Sy HOT!
    You jero Brady upright and stay fairly healthy and YOU HAVE A GREST CHANCE TO REPEAT! Now Patriot and Buc fan. If both meet in SB which they won’t I am a converted Tampa fan because if Brady and Gronk!
    Stay Healthy Bucs and Hungry and A SECOND LOMBARDI IS ON THE WAY!!! So excited for Buc Fans! BUT PLEASE KEEP AS MUCH OF THE TEAM TOGETHER! No more N.O. to worry about. ALL SYSTEMS GO NOW!