Ali Marpet Optimistic Key Free Agents Can Remain With Bucs

February 4th, 2022

Ali Marpet basks in Pro Bowl sunlight.

It seems pretty much all fans have resigned themselves to the fact the Bucs are going to lose a free agent or two come March. Or more.

The Bucs have huge names to sign. Pro Bowl receiver Chris Godwin may be the biggest. Cornerback Carlton Davis is critical. Then there is center Ryan Jensen (31 in May) who could be looking at his final NFL contract. Running back Playoff Lenny (27) is likely looking at his final big-money contract. You know about running backs, the closer they get to 30, the narrower the playing window gets before it shuts for good.

And with the Bucs losing the greatest quarterback of all time and the pillar of the organization may open the floodgates to departures.

Bucs guard Ali Marpet isn’t so sure

Yeah, on face value Marpet admits guys could leave. But the way Marpet sounded yesterday, guys don’t want to leave and break up a good thing, though everyone has to look out for himself, too.

Joe spoke with Marpet at the chilly but sun-blanketed Pro Bowl practices at the Las Vegas Ballpark and he noted something few are factoring when looking at Bucs free agents. And that is what sort of voodoo economics Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht and team capologist Mike Greenberg can pull off.

“If you would have told me after last year we would have the guys we had back — I don’t know what ‘Greeny’ [Greenberg] and Jason [Licht] are going to do,” Marpet said. Those guys are unbelievable. So we will see what we have next year.”

Marpet makes a helluva point. Licht maneuvering to bring back all 22+1 starters and more was considered a coup. And be honest, teams play games with the salary cap all the time.

How many years did the Saints always go over the cap but were always able to add key players? It finally caught up with them this year but that’s what the Bucs likely are looking at: Trying to capitalize on having so many good players while they can. If they have to pay the piper in three or four years after guys have maxed out their careers or left, then so be it.

The Seahawks are another team that for years always found spare change in between the pillows on Paul Allen’s couch to sign a key free agent here or there, despite having salary cap problems.

(Yes, Joe knows Seahawks owner Paul Allen died a few years ago.)

So Joe likes Marpet’s point. Let’s see what kind of black magic Greenberg and Licht can whip up in the coming weeks. The free agency dinner bell rings at noon on March 14.

35 Responses to “Ali Marpet Optimistic Key Free Agents Can Remain With Bucs”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One of the keys to our cap is going with Trask…..

    We have already reworked Marpet, Smith, Evans, LVD…….

    Licht is pretty good at this….let’s see.

  2. zzbucs Says:

    Davis is not critical by any means…..CG Jensen and Cappa are…..Lenny is phenomenal, but I wouldn´t pay big money for a RB…..WE can draft one or get one on the market by much less…..

  3. Jody Says:

    Davis isn’t critical? Are you kidding me? Secondary was the weakness of this team last year.

  4. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Agree that Lenny will want big money, but the problem is ….. we can’t seem to draft a real RB.
    Rojo? Ehhh….
    Who have we drafted that was worth a damn since Cadillac?

  5. Biff Barker Says:

    Whatever Licht decides with the OL is fine by me. He’s earned it. Its the best O Line in Buc history. Let’s recognize and appreciate that. Harold Godwin too.

  6. zzbucs Says:


    Agree with your look bro…..But the thing is we should take care of every single pennie here, and OL and CG are top priorities IMO

    @Jody…So if Secondary was the weackness (I agree) why spending a lot of money on an average CB when your cap situation is not comfortable……..You said it yourself Sir……..

  7. Brady's Bucs Skeleton Says:

    Our secondary was the weakest link over the last two seasons. Bucs brass did nothing to address the issue and opposing offenses ate them up. Time to re-sign Carlton Davis and pull from free agency and the draft. Otherwise – Burrow, Mahomes, Allen, Stafford, Winston, and Prescott are going to FEAST against Tampa’s secondary next season. Best wishes!

  8. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Suh, JPP, Gholston,
    It aint over yet.
    Save The Licht House…
    Make The Bucs Defense Great Again!

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    It is possible but only if we restructure several of the current contracts and push more guaranteed money down the line into the future.

    Mike Evans
    Ali Marpet
    Shaq Barrett
    Donovan Smith

    If we can pull about $25 million from these deals along with the $20 million we currently have under the cap we should be able to bring back several (but not all) of our free agents.

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    We’ve got to keep Godwin, Davis and Jensen. Fournette would be nice also, but if cap space gets critical, I would keep the other three first. Get rid of OJ for sure. Gronk probably will not be back anyway. Got to keep the O-line in tact, both for the running and passing game. Got to have Godwin to give our new QB, whoever that may be, another premium target.

  11. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    Tick – Tock….

  12. Rick Says:

    I guess we’ve forgotten about Gruden super bowl era… trade draft picks and back load contracts… eventually you have to pay up… The window is closing… overpaying for guys like Suh, Jensen, or Gronk makes zero sense. You want to be able to afford the second contracts of guys like Wirfs, White, and Winfield.

  13. D-Rome Says:

    One of the keys to our cap is going with Trask

    I agree. I wonder how well he could do if the team signs Godwin, signs a quality RB, keep the O-Line intact, and bring in a few pieces to replace Suh and JPP with Trask as a starter.

    Most rookies fail because the team structured around them are really bad. I really believe New England has their next great QB in Mac Jones and his rookie year was a success because they had a good team around him. Perhaps Trask can thrive with similar support. It must kill Pats fans knowing they could have had Deebo Samuel instead of N’Keal Harry.

  14. Cleanhouse Says:

    I think get rid of Carlton Davis

  15. Beeej Says:

    Davis is one of the better cover corners in the league, his PFF grade was 70 last year. He’s second in the league in completion percentage against.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Marine Buc Says:
    February 4th, 2022 at 9:59 am
    It is possible but only if we restructure several of the current contracts and push more guaranteed money down the line into the future.

    Mike Evans
    Ali Marpet
    Shaq Barrett
    Donovan Smith

    If we can pull about $25 million from these deals along with the $20 million we currently have under the cap we should be able to bring back several (but not all) of our free agents.

    Great idea…..that’s exactly what we did last year…..not sure Licht can do it again with the same players…..and for sure can’t find $25 mil.

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    @ TBBF

    The scary thing is some of the players I mentioned are on the wrong side of 30…

    I don’t know if we want to continue pushing money into the future with LVD, Barrett and Evans.

    We already owe Evans a bunch of guaranteed money including two void years which pay him @ $4.5 million and he will be 32 when the last void year hits.

    We could also restructure Cam Brate’s and kicker Succops deals which will give us @ $4-$5 million or so.

  18. Mike Says:

    The Bucs would be smarter to play the long term franchise building card I believe. Go with the young guys, let the older guys go in Free Agency, get some extra draft picks and stay out of salary cap purgatory.

  19. Ed Says:

    Bucs need to decide if they want to want to go all in again this year or go younger and free up cap space. Personally, I think they should go younger and either draft a QB or go with Trask. After watching Dalvin Cook as a Vikings fan, I certainly don’t think Lenny deserves a big contract. Godwin does if he can come back from the knee. O-was good. Honestly, I don’t recall a single guy on defense that played well enough for a big contract.

  20. allbuccedup Says:

    Its no secret what the Bucs s are doing a lot of nfl teams are doing it. Sign a player to a contract count it as signing bonus shove the numbers down the road for five years or so. Which is well an fine until one day you notice everyone on the team your paying them a lot of money and they are not even on your team anymore.

  21. Delson Says:

    I think suh was the biggest impact player last year. I say we let jpp walk resign suh (he pushes this defense) n bring back davis. Davis is our best cb he was hurt alot last season but maube that can factor into his negotiations. Let jensen walk i like him but if he asks for a fat contract.. Let gronk go whether he retires or not ask brate for a reduction in his contract (poor performance last year) if oj wants big money let him walk. But i bet he will be a stud for whoever picks him up. Resign godwin. Let fournette go. First round im looking at rbs wrs and oline. If we can replace antonio browns production our offense could be killer. Our backups have shown they are back ups to backups aside from Cyril grayson

  22. allbuccedup Says:

    Davis critical are secondary stinks except for Winfield. If they pay Davis 18 mil a year they deserve what they get a partime overpaid corner. By the way have the Bucs looked at their conditioning coaches we sure have a lot of injuries.

  23. allbuccedup Says:

    Licht needs to be very careful some of these free agents Godwin, Davis etc. to multi million dollar deals and then have a bad year. All the money gone and no where to go. And oh that magic feeling nowhere to go.

  24. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Love this… Off-season was actually kind of boring last year in the best way. But now the lazy boy GM game back in full swing.
    I would prioritize keeping as many FAs on the offense as possible and draft defense. Pass rushers to be specific and a ILB to groom under LVD. Godwin’s injury really complicates things, but could actually work to our advantage. Licht should try and keep all the OL and Lenny first and foremost.
    Sign offense. Draft defense and may the best QB rise to the occasion.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow, these are some of the best comments I can ever remember seeing on this site. Y’all just made JL’s work easy for him.

    o TBBF … ‘One of the keys to our cap is going with Trask’. Yea verily; couldn’t agree more. IF we end up signing a high $$$ QB, all other bets are off. Bucs must ‘get younger’ to be able to afford quality talent in the various position groups. Going with Trask with instance over say Jimmy G PROBABLY means we can sign Chris Godwin ($20 mil) without using a lot of voodoo economics (which would bite us in the arse down the street).

    o Cleanhouse … ‘I think get rid of Carlton Davis’. Technically you can’t ‘get rid of’ what you don’t own, but I certainly agree with your intent. I love the guy, but NOT at $20 mil. Of the 65 games we’ve played in his 4-yr career here, he’s played in 51 (availability less than 80%). He’s only had 6 INTs in those 4 yrs (with 4 of those coming in 2020). I love his average completion percentage over that span (57.1%), but in pass coverage he has given up 20 TDs in 4 yrs (he gets burnt periodically). Would love to keep him for say $10 mil, but no way at $20 mil.

    o zzBucs … ‘Lenny is phenomenal, but I wouldn’t pay big money for a RB’. I agree zz; Lenny is phenomenal & the thought of turning the RB duties over to Vaughn boggles the mind. Fournette’s Market Value is $6.2 mil based on a 2-yr contract (he made $3.3 mil this past season). He’s only 27 & basically does it all. I’d gladly give him a 3-yr contract at say $6 mil per yr (plus keep Gio for another 1-2 yrs … they’re both very good at pass blocking & catching out of the backfield).

    o Bruce Blahak … ‘Suh, JPP, Gholston; It aint over yet.’ Agree completely on Suh & Gholston, but I think everyone will want to ‘wait & see’ about JPP. IF he can’t regain his upper body strength, he won’t be the same player, and in that case, I’d move on.

  26. Bucamania Says:

    Carlton Davis is not a must-sign. He’s certainly no ballhawk… drops INTs on the regular. 2. How many PI calls does this guy get every year? Plus he’s often injured. No way I pay this guy as a top CB.

  27. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    Agree Davis signing not crucial nor is Cappa. Love to have Gronk back along with Brate at a reduced rate. Fournette is essential. Don’t have any other RBS worth crap. JPP is iffy at best. Need Suh & Gholston for 1 more year.

  28. westernbuc Says:

    The best teams (long term) use the compensatory system. If guys price themselves out, that’s fine. We’ll replace them in the draft. Then we won’t face those cap issues down the line

  29. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Priority order for me is as follows.

    Then Fournette, Gholston, Cappa and the rest

  30. David Says:

    Amazing how many fans complain about the past coverage yet they had to deal with nonstop injuries all year and they have Carlton Davis, he is a top 8 cornerback in the NFL, and yet many of you want to get rid of him. They absolutely need to resign him.
    Whitehead is average in coverage, great against the run and lays a big hit. Love the guy but the way he plays, there are plenty of safeties that do that and he is going to be injury prone.
    If it comes down to one or the other I would take Davis and put Edwards at the other safety

  31. sasquatch Says:

    Who the hell thinks we can afford to let Carlton Davis go? So what do you do to replace him and how much will that cost? Duh. Unless you think you can do better for less money, then why? Do you think we could afford to have a lesser corner start for us? Do you want to have even more reason to complain about the defense? Honestly, I don’t get people’s basic sense of logic sometimes.

  32. Pickgrin Says:

    Ya’ll saying don’t worry about re-signing Davis are crazy.

    He’s our best and most consistent CB. Statistics say he is a top 10 CB in this league (pushing top 5). Guys like that are VERY hard to find. Carlton is home grown/drafted and has earned a solid payday. Which he will get – from the Buccaneers……

    4 years – $52M – $26M guaranteed

  33. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I get that perhaps it’s Jensen’s last chance to get top $$ for his services.

    Jensen represents what I simply do not understand. And I’m not singling out Jensen for any reason other than his situation represents many of our other more senior FA’s.

    Jensen has already earned over 30 million $$$. If he has even a crappy financial advisor managing his dollars and taxes he could have at least earned five % from that money. IE if he does nothing the rest of his life his “nestegg” should produce
    1.5 million a year for life if he does NOTHING else.

    HE DOES NOT NEED THE MONEY. We are not talking about asking him or Suh or any of them to play for free.

    Spotrac had Jensen earning ten million this year…5th best in the league..tops was a little over 13 million.

    So if Jensen settled for what he’s already earning he’s only giving up 4-5 million a season. Yes 5 million is a lot of money but when you already have earned close to 40 and could sign for another 10 for a few years is it really all that much?

    Derek Jeter’s mansion on Davis Island sold for 22 million…one of the highest prices in Tampa real estate history. If Jensen lusted for that kind of home he’d ONLY have ten million of his nestegg left and a contract of a few years worth ten million a season. Ohhh the suffering!!!

    Again this is not about Jensen just using him as an example that is repeated every year at FA time. I know at the end of the day it usually ends up like Cuba Gooding JR in “Jerry McGuire”….”Show me the money!”

    The ONLY guy I see as needing to cash in is Playoff Lennie. He’s only earned 10 million so far and this is his last BEST opportunity to reach Jensen ike money.

  34. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    Joe, you mentioned that the cap finally caught up with New Orleans. I would disagree. The injury to Winston doomed their season. If he had not gotten injured, I’m not convinced we’d have won the division. After our first loss to them, I believe their record was the same as ours, and they owned the tiebreaker and we know what happened the second time we played them. You were correct in noting how well they manage the cap, and they still have a solid team. If they have a good quarterback next year, it will be a dogfight for us to win the division. Maybe the division is wide open right now.

  35. Joe Says:

    Joe, you mentioned that the cap finally caught up with New Orleans. I would disagree.

    Go check out their cap situation. That’s why Payton quit.