Bucs Cap Watch

February 20th, 2023

Explains his off game.

Yes, the Bucs already are about 13 1/2 miles over the 2023 salary cap (about $50-plus million) and need to shave salaries in a matter of weeks.

For now, $35 million of is a credit card bill tied to three years of Tom Brady debt.

Of course, being over the salary cap means the Bucs have a lot of guys with big contracts. Thankfully, lots are quality players, which means the Bucs probably will look to extend a couple of contracts, work deals to add phony, credit-style years on the ends of a couple of contracts, and perhaps look to trade a big fish or two (Devin White?).

The slimy Saints also are about $50 million beyond the cap, standard operating procedure in New Orleans. So Joe has kept an eye on how the Saints would proceed.

ESPN has reported that the Saints played games with center Erik McCoy’s 2023 contract and turned it into a signing bonus to spread the cap hit across future years of his deal. That saved them $8 million of cap room.

So who will be first up for the Bucs? The Bucs already have played cap games with Shaq Mason’s contract, which has cap hits in 2024, 2024 and 2026 even though he becomes a free agent after this season. Perhaps the Bucs add a season to Shaq’s deal to ease his $9.5 million cap hit this season?

Or what about Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? Is this the year the Bucs decide to give one of them a Buccaneer-for-life contract extension? Each is in the final season of his current contract with massive cap hits.

So many options on the table. Joe expects Saints-like moves by the end of the month.

37 Responses to “Bucs Cap Watch”

  1. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Those are huge salaries to WR in 2023 to just mostly block in Bolwes new run first and often offense.

  2. Andrew Fish Says:

    No more money down the road. that only works when we are in a super bowl push. we are no longer there. fix the cap now so this isnt a problem for the next 5 years.

  3. Tye Says:

    Evans seemed to decline some this past season… Creeping up on 30, quickly, his value isn’t likely to get any higher.. Trade him for some cap relief and draft capital…

  4. Stebobucsfan Says:

    I trust Mike Greenberg, I think that the name of the cap person in Tampa to get thing straightened out. We all know that of our top guys have be traded or cut however, with the talent we will have left after all in done, the Bucs should still very competitive

  5. HC Grover Says:

    Out wit the old pros. Trade em. We need the youngest fastest team in NFL to rebuild upon. The Curse of Bowles will begone next year. We need a good young foundation for the new coach to work with.

  6. robert Says:

    Trade ME.

  7. Bobby M. Says:

    Cap benefit to trading Evans is supposedly only $2 million, we would be better served extending him.

  8. Mort Says:

    Godwin isn’t a FA after this season, your reporting is inaccurate.

  9. Allbuccedup Says:

    The trading of players needs to happen this year because after nexr season with Bowles the teams quality players will be in question if we only win 3 or 4 games. This year is the last time we will have a chance to move White and I don’t believe hes a 20 mil a year mlb.

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Cutting Donovan Smith with a June 1st designation saves the Bucs $15 million, from what I understand. That’s 30% of the problem fixed with one guy.

  11. Coburn Says:

    I’d be wary of attributing any decline to Evans when he played this past year under Bowles. He was so misused and running so many go routes would have anyone worn out by second half. Let’s see how he does under another oc

  12. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I definitely want Mike Evans a Buc.

  13. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    First thing trade or release lazy ass D Smith. Also consider trading Barrett, Evans And/of Godwin. Thats for starters. Also smaller savings would be Gage Succop Brate, Vaughn, Bunting & maybe Fournette, David & D White

  14. Christopher Says:

    Mike Evan’s is still one of the best receivers in the league. I don’t think his skills declined this year but his motivation may have. His best routes are downfield and take longer to develop. It’s harder to hit on those with a patchwork offensive line, and an immobile Quaterback who is so terrified of being hit he will quickly throw the ball in the dirt or up for grabs before Mike can get open.

  15. robert Says:

    this needs to be a fire sale!

    gut the roster for what vale the players still have. complete rebuild.

    anyone with common sense knows it….but this is the bucs so….

    never underestimate their ability to F things up.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    If they can trade ME strike while the iron is hot. ME deserves not to have to suffer through another QB on training wheels.
    Trade Godwin too

  17. sasquatch Says:

    Godwin has 2 years remaining, Joe.

  18. Dooley Says:


    Common sense is a figment of humanities collective imagination. It don’t exist, we’re all cultured differently, we all learn differently, at our own pace, and are exposed to different things for the notion of “common sense” to hold true. Next time you’re in a public restroom and see the “please do NOT flush paper towels” sign you’ll know exactly what I mean lol.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Suck it up now…..while we have no QB & a horrible coach….

  20. robert Says:

    @ dooley….spoken like someone with zero common sense.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Andrew Fish … ‘No more money down the road. that only works when we are in a super bowl push.’

    In an ideal world I’d agree with you Andrew, but the Bucs are currently in anything but an ideal world. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner with very few ways out, and none of them are even close to ideal.

    Only 3 options I can think of are (1) restructure existing contracts; (2) trade players; or (3) cut-and-release players. Option 1 is actually preferred because those players with big $$$ contracts (those worth restructuring) tend to be your better, more experienced players … and team leaders.

    Option 2 (trading players) may gain us ‘some’ CAP relief, but other teams will look at that as a fire sale on our part (desperation?), which it would be. We’d be giving up a quality player (and usually a team LEADER) for marginal gain. PLUS … then we have to replace that player(s) with one of roughly equivalent talent to be competitive. That’s either a high draft pick (if we’re lucky) or buying a talented FA (for big bucks usually).

    Option 3 (releasing players) may also gain us ‘some’ CAP relief, but not as much as folks think because Dead CAP factors in. PLUS … we’ll also have to replace that player(s) with one of roughly equivalent talent. Then we’re back to the draft or buying replacements.

    The main problem is that MINUS $55 mil in salary CAP is a VERY DEEP HOLE. REALLY REALLY DEEP. So deep that we currently rank #32 in the NFL. But that’s not even the worst news. Half our team from last year are FAs … and have to be re-signed OR replaced (using money we don’t have). And oh ya, we’re picking #19 in the draft. Whoopee.

    We have no choice but to spread the pain over several years. If we gut this puppy we’ll have lost a large part of our talent AND leadership. Then what? Folks won’t have to worry about who’ll be the QB or even about tanking. The talent & leadership we’d be left with wouldn’t even be able to compete in the NFC South. That’s not TEAM-building. It’s the exact opposite.

  22. Depressed 2022 Says:

    Purge the dead wood…. Play Trask , Bowels is a Dead man walking… Get draft picks for 2023 and 2024… New Head coach next year

  23. Dooley Says:

    LMAO @ Robert

    “It’s common sense that “X” is true, therefore “X” is true because everybody knows it even if I have zero idea of what everybody knows” lol is just a lazy way to think or justify what your brain is prejudiced towards. Plz, leave the rest of us out of your thoughts

  24. Old School Nole Says:

    We mortgaged the future for a Super Bowl win. I was then and am now, completely ok with that choice. But doing the same thing again when that window has clearly closed is foolish.

  25. Redeemer Says:

    Defense, it’s not as dire as you’re making it out to be..The cap isn’t an obstacle to keeping who they want. But it is time to clean up the books for the next push. They’ve spent a ton of real money the last three years. Continuing to do that for a team that’s winning squat is just stupid business.

    Go with me here for a minute. Let’s say Mahomes decided tomorrow he will play for Tampa and nobody else. Do you really think they couldn’t and wouldn’t find cap space? It’s because they know they can’t compete, why they need to fix the books. Not because of the cap. If they wanted to spend this year, they could simply convert remaining money into bonuses on many contracts. Again they won’t because it’s good money after bad. Yes, they’re in some cap trouble. But they’ll be able to field a team next season, with seats, hats and everything.


  26. robert Says:


    well keep flushing those paper towels then.

  27. robert Says:

    while you’re at it….drive on the left hand side of the road. they do it overseas, so it must be that way here as well.

    here’s your sign!

  28. Seattle Buc is back in TB Says:

    I like Brate, but he should be the first to go. Smart as hell cool guy but poor blocker and slow, injured, struggles to get open. Then D Smith. Offer Evans an extention.

  29. Redeemer Says:

    Robert and Dooley, high entertainment, educational too. I had no idea flushing PT could cause serious sewer problems, or the fact I couldn’t drive on the wrong side of the road. I do both with regularity. Never been pulled over by the fuzz once. I think they fear me. As for flushing, if it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down. Just make sure you wash hands after.



  30. Dooley Says:


    apparently your reading comprehension needs work as well good luck living in a world that you assume everybody has the same baseline level of knowledge and understanding as you lol “fire sale” amirite?

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    Redeemer … ‘Yes, they’re in some cap trouble. But they’ll be able to field a team next season, with seats, hats and everything.’

    Yes we will be able to field a team Redeemer. It’s the QUALITY of that team that will very likely be impacted significantly by this salary CAP mess.

    In my opinion, last year’s team wasn’t nearly as talented as the 2020 or 2021 teams (going 8-9 gave me a hint). Oh we still had some very talented starters, but we had no DEPTH to replace those we’d lost to FA or who got injured. It’s boring to go down position by position again, but let’s just say that when you lose Gronk & replace him with a rookie (or with Rudolph, take your pick) that you’re not as talented at TE.

    So this year we’ve got to replace Tom Brady & 21 other UFAs who were on the team last season. About half were either starters or key rotational players. And our STARTING position is MINUS $55 mil on the salary CAP. So we’ve got to clean that part up PLUS free up sufficient money to sign a bunch of FAs & draft picks. I agree with you though … Bucs are ‘in some CAP trouble’.

  32. Andrew Fish Says:

    @Defense Rules to me this is about 2024. cleaning as much cap now as possible. and even if it doesn’t help much this year cutting/trading those players will help our cap for 2024. Donvan smith helps clear 9 or 10 mil this year but he is clean off the books for 2024. Gage saves a couple mil this year but all of it next. same with Shaq, and Fournette. after this year we have to resign Wirfs and Winfield which are some of the best players in the league also Evans and White.

    Even with all the cuts and potential trades they are still going to have to shift money to next year. Just have to keep it to a minimum.

  33. unbelievable Says:

    They’re not trading Evans lol. Unless maybe he himself asks to be traded. Otherwise it’s just not happening folks.

    You’ve heard Licht and Greenberg talk about it plenty of times. They want to keep their homegrown talent.

    Simple as that.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    The issue with players signing extensions this offseason is that the cap is expected to explode next year. That’s why guys like Godwin and Davis both only signed 3-year deals last offseason, they didn’t want anything long-term until the new money kicks in.

    That’s also why I think it’s going to be harder than people think to give guys new deals. Why would Godwin take an extension where he might be making $25m/year, when he can just wait until his deal is up and get a deal making $30m/year?

    The cap going up causes massive inflation. If guys aren’t one year wonders, and not too old, they’ll make a ton of money by waiting until next year to sign new deals.

  35. SKBucsFan Says:

    Credit card debt is the worst. Too much income goes towards paying for past purchases. It’s best to sell some items and payout the debt. It means some belt tightening in the first year or so, but it becomes easier to manage a budget going forward.

    Hopefully Licht realizes this. Not being a buyer at the free agent dinner bell sucks!

  36. catcard202 Says:

    catcard202 Says:
    February 15th, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Under current cap/roster realities…You look to maximize every move.

    $55M over cap. Paying a ton in void yrs UFA deals coming due kinda limits options. 26 UFA’s but CAP starting in the $281M range…That means Money Vets got to go & a couple guys might need to be traded, in conjunction with selected restructures to get FO in position to sign a Bridge/Camp competition QB’s (2) & sign draft picks / UDFA / min salary guys on back end of 53.

    How does the FO get to that magic #?? Dunno, but I’d look for cuts of:
    D.Smith / Mason / Barrett / Brate / Succop / Lenny / Vaughn / Chesley / Laird just to get ball rolling…(Timing for max Cap savings in 2023 – Most Post June 1 cuts)…Getting ~$54M off books.

    Look to trade D.White in APR for draft capital & move that $11M off the books…Would be open to moving Jensen in JUNE – if a contender has a C go down for 2024 comp)..But moving 45 puts FO in the Black ($10M under cap)…Under but still need more work to get Bridge QB, Draft Picks & a few lower dollar FA’s to backfill on the roster.

    Restructure: Godwin / Evans / Vea / Davis…Guys that fit in the 3yr plan CORE + ME retiring a BUC!!! They help open little over $38M in 2023…That w/ White move puts FO in position to reshuffle positional spending & add pcs needed to fill 53 in 2023 (~$48M)…Without killing 2024 flexibility.

    Draft: If the right QB slides in range, go get that guy…If not, see if there’s a trade back opportunity to collect Day2/3 picks. (Trade back is optimal!) if FO can add 2-3 more picks by dropping into top of Rd 2…Take the deal. Prospects 18-35 ~ same value. The more Day 2/3 picks the better. (Block $12-15 max for draft)

    FA QB’s: Brissett / Drew Lock – est. $8.5 combined…Cheap/short prove it deals…While leaving $ to spread across reboot signings, back loaded FA deals & save a couple $M for in season moves.

    Yes, you have to hit the value FA bin (but not too much. Want make sure Bucs get multiple COMP Picks awarded in 2024)…. Yes, you have to hope the scouting dept. is on point & Licht hits on 5-6 guys in the draft to be immediate contributors (a few of them day 1 starters). But it’s a reset yr & the goal is to get younger, cheaper & with better positional spending trends going forward.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Okay…first things first: What is the penalty if you start a season over the cap?

    I seem to remember reading that thre teams were penalized for being over the cap in 2021. I don’t remember the penalty. Anyone else know?

    Second: I think it is unrealistic to expect a fire sale. Bowles will not hamper himself that way, and the Glazers would be wrong to fire him next year if all his goid players are taken away.

    I just don’t think it will happen.

    More realistic:
    A high value player gets traded. The best one for the Bucs to trade is not Devin White. Sorry to burst bubbles, but with Lavante David being a free agent, there is no way they trade White.

    No, best player to trade is Mike Evans. He can get us a first rounder, and his new team can work out a new deal. Bucs would only be responsible for the dead cap space left behind.

    Next? Cut Donovan Smith to save cap, then offer to resign him for substantially less.

    Then you extend Godwin and the remaining good players. Covert some iff needed.

    I do not see us extending Ryan at center…he has his own out option next year. Which, technically, would also mke him trade worthy this year. He might actually net a first rounder as well.

    I’m not looking forward to a search for a good center again, but if the Bucs play their cards right, they could go into the draft with 3 first rounders.