A $10 Million Value?

February 7th, 2022

Carlton Davis

It’s safe to say at least 17 cornerbacks will earn $10 million or more for the 2022 NFL season.

Should Bucs free-agent-to-be Carlton Davis be the next member of the eight-figure cornerbacks club?

It’s a massive question for general manager Jason Licht and his team of salary and personnel gurus.

Just 25 years old, Davis is the Bucs’ best cornerback, but he’s also missed 14 games in his four seasons. He’s not a Pro Bowler or an elite ballhawk, but again, he’s the best on the Tampa Bay roster and a valuable asset.

In past years, Bucco Bruce Arians has referred to Davis as as top-10 and maybe a top-5 cornerback. Joe didn’t hear that kind of chatter in 2021, except from retired great Aqib Talib. Davis came back from a major midseason quad injury but certainly struggled against the Rams in the playoffs. (How many millions did that game potentially cost Davis?)

If the Bucs open the Team Glazer vault for Davis, then it may become almost impossible for them to pay fellow cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting when his contract expires after the 2022 season. And Joe can’t imagine the Bucs paying Davis and still being able re-sign both free agent offensive linemen Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa next month.

The Bucs are not in salary cap hell, but there is no way they’ll be able to re-sign all their top free agents.

Tampa Bay’s toughest offseason call may be on Davis. He’s going to want to be paid like a young and above-average No. 1 cornerback with postseason experience. His agent knows multiple teams will be interested.

Joe doesn’t want to consider the Bucs defense without Davis. (That was an ugly look in 2021.) But Joe also wants the Bucs to prioritize the offense, the strength of the team and the coaching staff.

51 Responses to “A $10 Million Value?”

  1. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    I agree Joe – no chance we are able to bring everybody back.

    If we re-sign Godwin and let Davis go we should draft a CB in round #1.

    If we re-sign Davis and let Godwin walk we should draft a WR in round #1.

    I’m glad you are being realistic about our free agency and cap situation.

    Some people in the comment section don’t like it when you try to be realistic… They want to trade for Aaron Rodgers and bring back every single free agent.


  2. allbuccedup Says:

    Davis is going to want a lot more than 10mil spotrac has got him for 19 plus. 10 mil is about all we could afford Jensen also. Davis or someone else has sign for 9 or 10 mil. The front office will pull out their magic pen and sign someone on a three year deal and spread it over five years.

  3. Swampbuc Says:

    It was also an ugly look with Davis. See Rams game, see Cooper Kupp running wide open.

    See ya.

  4. kyle Says:

    the problem is, they have to pay him. unfortunately, we have poop to show from our previous drafts. smb peed down his leg this year, dean is inconsistent. not like we have the money to sign 2 free agent corners..

  5. Craig Says:

    The Bucs should pay Davis. Licht only seems to hit 1 out of 5 when drafting CBs. Best not to trust to luck, too many other holes to fill.

  6. BucsfaninTX Says:

    Lovie Smith is new Texans coach 😂😂😂😂😂😂

  7. Beejezus-belt Says:

    Bucs won without him, it was ugly. Too much to pay for an average cornerback that missed 1/4 off the games.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    This is a tough one. He is clearly the best DB we have. The question is whether you can replace him. Our DB room is sketchy, at best. Nobody stayed healthy or consistent.
    Do you roll the dice?

  9. Adrnagy Says:

    Winfield is a pro bowler. Davis no.
    Winfield is a FA next year.

    Ill put my money on godwin. Cappa. Whitehead. Fournette.suh.
    Ill draft CB elam 1 st round. Dt/de 2 nd round. 3rd. LB. /olb.

    Each of this players will want 10mil a yr. Jensen. Davis. Jpp. Gronk. Bye.

  10. Jonny Says:

    He’s the best we have, but he is very inconsistent B player. It is hard to tell sometimes if his suck has to do with Bowles scheme.

  11. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    We invested a lot of draft picks in this secondary and the results have been just barely above average. In their defense our defense does blitz more than most which puts those guys on an island a lot.
    I’d make him a decent offer around the 10 mil mark and if he wants to test the market, let him.
    It’s supposed to be a pretty decent draft class of secondary and D-line. I’d much rather ink Davis and draft trenches than the other way around.

  12. zzbucs Says:

    Doesn´t make any sense paying Davis big money with other FA´s like Godwin Cappa Jensen etc….Let him go, and get a veteran CB on the market….

  13. Beeej Says:

    Good corners are far more rare than good receivers or good linemen

  14. geno711 Says:

    Craig Says:
    February 7th, 2022 at 3:28 pm
    The Bucs should pay Davis. Licht only seems to hit 1 out of 5 when drafting CBs.

    I would say every team only hits on 1 of every 5 cornerbacks drafted and that is why you have to keep drafting them. 32 teams. Can you name 32 excellent starting cornerbacks in this league? 100 cornerbacks have been drafted these last three seasons. If one of 5 hit, than there would be 20 good ones from those drafts. No way there are 20 good cornerbacks from the last three drafts.

  15. geno711 Says:

    Beeej Says:
    February 7th, 2022 at 3:58 pm
    Good corners are far more rare than good receivers or good linemen.


  16. adam from ny Says:

    4 years 44 mil take it or leave it

  17. Beeej Says:

    Geno clearly recognizes greatness

  18. sasquatch Says:

    Unless you think we can find a #1 CB in free agency for cheaper, or draft one this year, we have to keep Davis. I think he’s our next highest priority after Godwin. Our defense has to improve if we want to win this year, and losing your #1 corner is not the way to improve your defense.

  19. SKBucsFan Says:

    Good corners are hard to find. But without great D linemen and LB’s even a good corner has a hard time covering. Keep the QB from having too much time is the best…ummm…defense!
    Spend your money and picks on the front 7!

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    @ adam

    I’m going to guess:

    4 years – $66 million ($35 million guaranteed).

    I noticed Stephon Gilmore is a free agent. I wonder if he has anything left in the tank.

    Gilmore could be had at your price. I don’t think we will be able to sign Davis for $11 mil a year.

  21. gotbbucs Says:

    Can he shadow #1 recievers? No.

    Remember the fist game against the Chiefs in 2020? Tyrek had 220 yards against Carlton Davis after ONE quarter. That’s how he performs when put him on an island.

    Every single team in the NFC South has at least one, maybe two cornerbacks that are better than Davis.

    He’s at best a #2 corner on almost every other team in the NFL.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Davis must be re-signed by the Bucs to a fair contract.

    4 years – $52M should get it done and is fair to both sides.

  23. Jeff Says:

    Get him signed. You gotta have a strong #2 level CB talent in your secondary. Lock him up.

  24. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    I agree that fourty four mil. @ 4 yrs. is more than fair. Not a penny more. Avg. CB that is injury prone. Take it or leave it.

  25. Bucsqb12 Says:

    There’s not a QB or OC in the NFL that’s saying “oh sh*t , we can’t throw to 24s side “ time to move on …

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Tough choice…….Carlton Davis for $10 mil….or a “Bottle of Cologne” for $8.99.

  27. John King Says:

    Based on his play (so far) he’s not worth $10 big ones.

  28. SKBucsFan Says:

    I mean “early” picks. Will have to use a pick to draft a CB eventually. Can be a 3rd or later

  29. David Says:


    I know there are other free agents but as far as top priorities, that’s in order as to who I think are the top priorities.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    As badly as I’d like to keep Davis in our Secondary, I say Pass for 2 primary reasons: (1) availability; and (2) cost. Bucs have played 64 regular season games in his 4 years; Davis has played in 51 of those (78.5%). We’ve played 6 playoff games; Davis to his credit played in all 4, but was burned for 4 TDs (more than any other CB). He gets targeted a LOT, but is good (not great) in coverage & does get burned periodically.

    For what he’d be asking in $$$ (Spotrac lists his Market Value close to $20 mil), I’d expect someone with MUCH BETTER availability & shutdown corner skills. Bucs NEED to draft a CB in Rnd 1 this year AND probably sign a quality FA, but at someplace in the $10 mil range. We’re very thin at CB depth.

  31. Duane Says:

    If $10 is the going rate for your best starting cb, you gotta pay it. I think Lenny is the guy you gotta sign first, but all of the others are almost as important, that I can appreciate how fluid Team Glazer is going to have to be to make it happen.

  32. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    What about Stephon Gilmore for $12-$13 million?

    Just as a temporary replacement while our rookie CB we pick at #27 develops…

  33. Marine Buc Says:

    *replacement for Davis if he leaves…

  34. Caleb Says:

    Davis is clearly the best CB the team has. You don’t let your best players walk away in free agency, especially the ones that are 25. I think they will use the franchise tag on him. They will let SMB walk next year assuming he continues to be a mediocre to below average player. I am signing Dean way before SMB.

  35. Colin in Canada Says:

    Probably closer to 15mil per year for Davis.

  36. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    I hate to say it, but I’d let Davis and Jensen walk, unless Jensen will play for a reduced salary. I’d even consider trading Shaq to free up cap room. He’s not the same player without JPP. We need the room to revamp the defense and fix the holes.

    That being said, I’d try to resign Whitehead, Godwin and Cappa. Go cheap at QB. Make that D strong.

  37. Colin in Canada Says:

    Spotrac has Davis’ market value at 19 mil per year based on comparable contracts. He’s going to get paid

  38. Bobby M. Says:

    What will need to happen is a tag & trade and get something for these young guys….either Godwin or Davis. IMO….you can’t build a roster with TWO receivers making almost $20 million each and there’s no point in paying a CB $10 million per year with no pass rush and you’re running zone 90% of the time because your DC only blitzes.

  39. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Let him walk.

    Godwin is a proven commodity. Davis ain’t that great.

  40. Mike Says:

    Godwin is a must to re-sign. Everyone else is expendable. I like Davis but you can’t pay a corner 10 mil plus and him be a true #1 lockdown corner.

  41. Bqen green Says:

    Who would y’all rather have, Davis, or JC Jackson?
    Let Ben make the argument for y’all. Pay Jackson. Bill isn’t interested in paying top dollar for a DB, unless he’s a shutdown guy. Make no mistake, JC is a #1 corner, he’s just not a traditional take the #1 reciever away kinda guy. He’d fit perfectly with what the bucs do. He’s a tremendous ball hawk, and can play zone and man. It’s a rare attribute in the modern leauge. From what Ben hears, he would be willing to take a three or four year deal. The Patriots won’t tag him, because of all the coin Mr Kraft ponied up last year. If negotiations go south with the pats as Ben suspects, he’d be a great fit

  42. Bqen green Says:

    Did y’all forget that Godwin is coming off ACL surgery? He’ll be a shadow of himself next year. It takes these guys two years to get back into form. If the bucs aren’t going to sign a top flight QB, them resigning Godwin is essentially a waste of money. Paying huge money to WRs almost never works out anyway.

  43. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I want a killer pass rush first. Tryon Shroyrinka showed me enough to believe he’s the real deal. JPP is obviously near the end. If we can keep him for the right $$$ do it…same for Suh..same for Gholston…we KNOW already what these guys can do so if they’re affordable with an “old man discount” do it.

    I’d pay Whitehead long before I’d pay Davis. Whitehead is the kind of hitter that can change the momentum in a game. He’s a true beast…dare I say he reminds me of John Lynch?

    Meanwhile Mike Edwards has a great nose for the ball and Winfield is the combination of both Whitehead and Edwards…somebody who has the chance to play at an Ed Reed or Polamalu level if he keeps improving. IE our safties are really good. Keep Whitehead.

    Our CB’s all have “availability” and inconsistency problems. Davis, Dean and SMB can play when healthy…a big “when healthy” sadly…and all three gamble too much and get burned. We can find guys like them in the draft IMHO. Sign them if they are reasonable but anything over 10 million is a waste on Davis regardless of what Spotrac says.

  44. Idahobucfan4life Says:

    The DB’s have been the weakest part of the defense, and entire team for that matter, for more than three years running. Safety play has improved significantly with Whitehead and Winfield Jr and both of them need to stay put. It’s the corners that are compromising this defense. I don’t care if he’s the best corner the Bucs have on their roster. Teams are throwing the ball all over the yard on the Bucs and it’s time to look somewhere else.

  45. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … There are 67 CBs right now who’ll be unrestricted FAs. Of those, 20 are 30 yrs old or older. IOW, there’s a pretty sizable group who the Bucs could tap into, IF we chose that path. It’s all a question in my mind of how well any particular CB fits Todd Bowles defensive scheme and of course how much they’re willing to sell their talent for.

    In any event, the Bucs NEED some new blood in our Secondary (CBs to be specific). Personally I like both SMB & Dean, and would like to see Edwards used more at Nickel. Cockrell is adequate as a backup, but that’s about it. We NEED at least 2 more CBs to be competitive, and at least 1 NEEDS to be a starting talent. We MIGHT be able to get that in the draft, but I wouldn’t count on it (if we draft a CB at #27 they’d probably be the 4th or 5th CB taken).

    Regardless, I don’t have any desire to be paying top dollar for any CB. I rather put our money into signing Godwin, Fournette, Jensen, Cappa or Stinnie (hopefully both), then focus on improving our defense (largely via the draft I would expect, but we could use to re-sign Suh, Whitehead, Minter & maybe even JPP if the price is right).

  46. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    If you don’t sign Godwin, then we really only have a #1 receiver. Can we get a #2 for 10 million? If we can I say go for it. Our offense has eaten up a ton of cap the last 5 years. I would love to bring in 3-4 players and turn our defense into a crushing unit.

  47. Rod Munch Says:

    If they can sign him for just $10-million, they should do so in a heartbeat, but he’s going to get a lot more than that.

    Also, they can keep everyone if they want to play with the numbers and continue to use void years. Eventually they’ll have to pay for that, but if they get a good QB, they can do quite a bit towards keeping the team mostly intact.

  48. LakelandSteve Says:

    It sure would have helped if we would have used our second round pick on a player other than QB last year. I think it tells a lot that none of the Bucs players are talking about how they would be in great hands if Trask gets the job of starting QB. The defense practices against him daily and none of those guys are like look out when Trask gets his shot he’s going to tear it up. Instead we get guys like Shaq Barrett (when asked about the QB) says I know Mr. Licht is going to take care of it as in go out and get a good QB.

  49. Buczilla Says:

    Drafting corners is not Licht’s strong suit, so I’m up in the air on this one. I don’t think that any of our corners are worth second contracts, but will Licht be able to draft a corner to replace them?

  50. Kelsoland Says:

    Our corners are our weakest link. We need a change at that position. Suh held the interior d line together. Godwin, Jensen and fournette on offense is a must to keep. Jpp is done so the money will be there. And Trask is not the answer at qb. Listen to who Richard Sherman has to say about the qb and corners

  51. Hodad Says:

    Why would we try to keep this secondary together? Dean’s solid, not special, has injury concerns. I’d have to know what FA’s might be available, and what the draft board looks like before deciding on him.