“We Gotta Make It Punitive”

February 3rd, 2023

Spending has its price.

General manager Jason Licht is sort of operating like the average Joe who has to pay rent in six days but won’t have the money for another two weeks.

Joe wrote about the Bucs’ salary cap woes and, damn, most transactions that caused them were worth it. Why? Kicking the salary cap can down the road helped bring home a Super Bowl to Tampa.

But the credit card bill is due now and Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian explained to Bucs fans on Late Hits on SiriusXM NFL Radio that it’s ok. What Licht is experiencing was meant to be.

“This is the way the cap was designed. If you have a good team and you go for, and you win the way the Bucs did and the Rams did, you are paying the price. The cap doesn’t forgive and doesn’t forget. I was one of the people who helped design it [as a member of the NFL management council],” Polian said.

“… We told Commissioner Tagliabue and he agreed 1,000 percent; we gotta make it punitive for people to make these once-in-a-generation runs at the Super Bowl. It’s possible. It’s not bad for the league if it happens, but you’re going to pay a big price for it. What price? A Lombardi Trophy, almost none (laughs). It’s irreplaceable.”

Joe appreciated Polian’s perspective. The Bucs kicked many cans down the road and a pile of “dead money,” salary on paper but the actual cash already was paid, is certainly understandable.

Now the questions are how quickly does Licht wants to compete again, and/or how quickly will Licht want to rectify the Bucs’ cap situation?

Polian has firm advice for Licht. Start making cuts ASAP. He referenced Donovan Smith and Leonard Fournette, among others.

“My advice would be wipe the books clean this year.  Your club’s getting old anyway,” Polian said.

Polian went on to laud Licht as one of the most underrated general managers in the game today. And Polian isn’t big on slobbering over coaches and suits.

61 Responses to ““We Gotta Make It Punitive””

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    It is said that if you want to dance to the music, you have to pay the Piper.
    Basically, we sold our soul to the devil to win a Super Bowl, and now it is time to pay.
    I agree with Polian, we are getting old and slow, so time to dump some players.
    Not so sure Brady is gonna help us because he may want to retire as a Patriot ?

  2. Winky Says:

    Pay it as much as you can next season.

    Clear the dead wood of cap space. A good pruning

    Go Bucs!!!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Next….LVD(unfortunately) Brate, Rudolph, Bernard, Succop, Julio, Gholston, Hicks, Ryan…

    Let’s get younger……suck up the cap hits and press on.

    Unfortunately, we have drafted well but spent the money and will have problems resigning all our players…..Dean, SMB, Edwards, Nelson……probably can only keep 2….

  4. D-Rome Says:

    I agree.

    I’m realistic about 2023. I think most commenters on here are realistic.

    This off season is about 2024. Sure, we’ll complain about bad losses in such for 2023 but realistically this is the price you pay for a Super Bowl unless you get a once in a generation QB you can build around for five years. Bucs had that chance with Jay-Miss but he never developed. Now he’s a 3rd stringer.

  5. Dooley Says:

    Imagine Bill Polian looking like the Crypt Keeper and calling your team “old” it stings harder coming from him than it did coming from Rex Ryan calling us old and slow every week since the Packers game.

  6. Keimosabe Says:

    Give the reins to Trask or gabbert and prune as much dead weight as possible then reassess next year, team is much to old and much to slow as I’d. An influx of youth is desperately needed

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Polian … ‘We told Commissioner Tagliabue and he agreed 1,000 percent; we gotta make it punitive for people to make these once-in-a-generation runs at the Super Bowl. It’s possible.’

    Polian … “My advice would be wipe the books clean this year. Your club’s getting old anyway.”

    Great advice from one of the masters. Bucs have had our ‘once in a generation’ shot and now it’s time to ‘wipe the books clean this year’.

  8. Adam Says:

    One of the keys to winning that Superbowl was having a competent head coach. No amount of money or good draft picks can replace that.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Jason became GM in 2014 & didn’t exactly work ‘magic’ until BA came onboard in 2019. He’s matured a lot as a GM over this close to 10-year period. But his ‘magic’ better be really powerful over these next 3 or so years if we’re to dig out from this hole. Not much room for error.

  10. Mike Says:

    Trade or cut as much as possible and build some draft capital. That’s what we need to be doing.

  11. mark2001 Says:

    So are we saying our chances of getting a good HC weren’t good because of the cap mess, FA exodus, and the other issues the team had? So the decision was to roll with Bowles, and next year after we get our cap issues taken care of, and if the team fails to be competitive next year, hire a new HC have plenty of cap room…with a potentially more attractive situation?

  12. Bojim Says:

    Don’t think next season will get better next season. Make the most of it and we’ll only spend a few years making it back.

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    I have been asking for this ever since it was clear the Bucs were not a good team (despite the Division championship.)

    And with Brady finally retiring, make it official and start the gutting process.

    This team needs to get younger and faster…with a new HC.

  14. Jack Clark Says:

    Totally agree with Polian. We spent all that money to win the Super Bowl and we accomplished our goal because Jason Licht is a no risk it no biscuit GM. Time to trade everyone for draft picks and let all of our free agents go to free up salary cap money for us to use after the next 4-5 years when we’re ready to make another Super Bowl run.

    TEAM no risk it no biscuit!

  15. Beej Says:

    We aren’t going to win too many games next year anyway, certainly aren’t going far into the postseason. Might as well set us up for further down the road

  16. miken Says:

    Pay it all now while the division still stinks. Pay now and win in 2024, Of course, Bowles would disagree, but if they play hard, he could stay.

  17. Bucfan Says:

    Bite the bullet this season and get the top pick in the 2024 draft & hire a new coach

  18. 1#bucsfan Says:

    It was worth it. The 20 and 21 seasons were a lot of fun. This year not so much with all the talent and still losing. I agree with most pay up now. Deff have a hard time wanting to cut LVD. I want him to retire a Buc. Don’t want to see ME13 leave just for draft capital. But I understand this is a Buisness and it’s a young man’s game.

  19. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Oh my…… cut Durable Dependable Donnie?

    But how will we replace that once in a generation talent for laziness and holding penalties?

  20. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    QB: Keep Trask. Get a cheap FA or resign Gabbert.
    RB: Everybody but White gone.
    OL: Keep Wirfs. Draft rounds 1-3. Dump D. Smith. Possibly trade Jensen if any takers.
    WR: Trade Godwin for big haul. Or talk to Evans and if he wants to go to a winning team trade him for a big haul. Keep one of these. Keep any fast cheap guys buried on depth chart who may be good but unknown due to crappy coaching. Other guys on vet contracts gone.
    TE: Keep Otton and Kiefs. Everybody else gone.

    Defense: Try and keep our CBs and Winfield and Vea and cheap guys who produce on the front 7. Trade White and LD.

    ST: Keep Camarda. Kicker goes.

    Basically I want to see at least 1/3rd of the roster churn getting rid of salary. Gain a bunch of picks and draft OL/DL. Go with a theme on the OL. Either get road graders or guys who can work in space depending on the run scheme our new OC likes. Tank, get a good QB in 1st next year and go from there.

  21. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Let the young players audition this coming year,

  22. Pewter Power Says:

    This is where he earns his money and we find out if he is a good gm. If he drafted the right guys then they’ll perform well enough to not be irrelevant. If his draft picks suck then we know he couldn’t have won the chip without big name free agents

  23. sasquatch Says:

    How many players do we have to cut or trade to absorb the hit this year?

    I’m willing to have a firesale to acquire draft picks, though there are some untouchables.

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    Donovan Smith, Leonard Fournette, and Cam Brate are obvious cuts. The cash doesn’t come close to the production.
    Beyond that, most are just going to be gone through free agency since we had so many veteran mercenaries in on one year deals. Extend Evans and Godwin to lower their cap number, resign David to a team friendly deal to let him finish his career in Tampa

  25. HC Grover Says:

    I dont mind if the team sucks a year or 2 but do not like keeping Bozo and his awful game planning and blunders.

  26. ElioT Says:

    Push ~$24M of Brady’s hit to 2024 with the post June 1st filing.

    Then cut, trade, restructure, resign, sign FAs with extreme pragmatism.

    Then nail the draft.

    Can’t afford to purposely destroy whatever winning culture is left for 2023 – then reload with a new HC and existing talent in 2024.

  27. Infomeplease Says:

    Let’s face it, with Bowles as Head Coach and no TB12, this team is a 5 or 6 win max!! It’s time for a rebuild!!! These were the good times!! Now the suck returns!!!

  28. ChattBucsFan Says:

    Agree with most comments, ‘23 should be a reset and rebuild year. Talk to any team willing to trade for picks, fire Bowles and end of season and attract competent coaching staff with plenty of cap space.

  29. Pewter Power Says:

    Well that’s interesting because I don’t remember any talk like that when the Saints were kicking the can down the road for nearly a decade

  30. Ugotrobbed Says:


  31. Craig Says:

    This coming season will see a pruned Bucs team, but starting to fill in the holes will start on defense.

    Bowles is still scribbling his mark, and will work towards his ideal defensive team,

    The offense will languish, unless someone makes a big impression, which will be doubtful will a suspect line. If any )-line guys get picked in the draft it will in round 6 or 7, and will be a project.

  32. Letsbucinggo Says:

    If they Gabbert back they need to cut Trask

  33. Stormy Says:

    You cannot cut or trade every damn vet.

    Anyone remember ‘Youngry’. The team was completely gutted of any leadership, and it took 10 years and 4 coaching staffs to recover. The team needs to retain leadership while you retool. No way do you tear it all down. That’s absurd and bad business for the Glazers.

  34. RumDude Says:

    The next few months will be very interesting.
    You have a HC saying we are reloading, and many “experts” telling our GM to “wipe the books clean”.
    It will be telling where ownership and the GM’s minds are with how this plays out. Bowles knows with his HC history he needs a successful season to keep his job, but if the Bucs clean house, then he’s a lame duck and will be fired after the ’23 season. If they reload, the wholesale changes many are begging for may not be coming anytime soon.

  35. 80forBrady Says:

    Agree with GumboIsForWinner’s plan with one exception:

    At RB also keep Ke’Shawn ‘Sneak’ Vaughn who is on the last year of his rookie deal and give him a chance to see what he can do.

    He’s a 3rd round pick and White needs a RB partner to spell him during games. When he played in 2020 and 2021, he had a 4.5 yards per carry average going into 2022. He played sparingly in 2022 and only had 17 attempts averaging a paltry 3.1 yards per carry, though Ornette 3.5 yards per carry and White 3.7 yards per carry didn’t do much better in 2022 with Lefty’s unimaginative play calling and a beat up offensive line.

    Let’s see what we have in ths guy. He’s not the pass catching RB that White is but he’s not a Ronald Jones either. Give him a chance in training camp to show what he can do.

  36. Joseph C Simmons Says:

    There’s two problems with absorbing the entire cap hit and having a “purge year”:

    1. Licht isn’t the ultimate decider, the Glazers are. After selling out the stadium and being on prime time for three years, they may not want their team to be a laughingstock again so quickly. It’s a bad look being the punchline for late night comedians right after being an ‘elite’ franchise.

    2. It could potentially destroy this supposed winning culture Brady brought with him. Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They really DO have a fantastic culture. 2022 was their “off year” with Ben Roethlisberger retiring and a rookie QB starting from scratch. They didn’t sign very free agents that I’m aware of, they started slow, but they still finished 9-8 and just outside of the playoffs.

    The Glazers signed off on a reset once, in 2009 when they fired everybody, got rid of all the aging veterans and hired Raheem Morris to rebuild. 2009 was so dreadful that I didn’t renew my season tickets for 2010 for the first time since 1995. And the stadium got less and less full until ten years later when Brady arrived.

    If we strip the roster of all the vets and eat the cap this year, Bowles better be a good enough coach to make them play hard and finish near .500. I saw no evidence of that coaching ability last year.

  37. ManzielMadness Says:

    We definitely should rebuild, now that we know Brady is done. I just can’t see Bowles going for it unless we guarantee he’ll still be the HC the following year. I expect they will trade or sign for a vet QB while pushing part of Brady’s dead cap space to next year.

  38. Sparky Says:

    I’m okay with selling out for 3 solid chances at a trophy, and since it worked, thats even better. The alternative is being the Cowboys. Building through the draft, never paying that big superstar you need to get over the hump, and being good enough to win a bunch of games and get to the playoffs and thats it. Do you know ANY happy Cowboys fans? I sure don’t.

  39. Duane Says:

    Happens to all good teams. Trick is to keep a core and retool it. Since the NFC south is horrible, I dont think we are going to get a rebuild. A division win is a home playoff game. There are still going to be expectations for Bowles to win, and he is going to have to earn those wins with less talent. No Brees, Ryan, or Newton. No excuses. We can still suck and make the playoffs next year barring a Lamar Jackson or Aaron Rodgers arrival in the division. A middle of the round draft pick for a division win is not a bad consolation prize. Less expectation with getting it right with a superstar, and you can always trade up if you think you have found the right player.

  40. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Stormy Says:
    February 3rd, 2023 at 10:39 am
    You cannot cut or trade every damn vet.

    Anyone remember ‘Youngry’. The team was completely gutted of any leadership, and it took 10 years and 4 coaching staffs to recover. The team needs to retain leadership while you retool. No way do you tear it all down. That’s absurd and bad business for the Glazers.

    Didn’t the Youngry’s win 10 games in 2010?

  41. Dooley Says:


    Yes with Josh Freeman, a UDFA Blount, Barrett Ruud at LB, EJ Biggers, Myron Lewis, Quincy Black, our 1st round rookie DT on the shelf and a host of other players that would’ve been strictly special teamers on other squads. Also drafted like crap from ’09-’11 and who else remember watching game 1 of the 2011 season watching Blount get 3 carries after putting up a 1,000 yards with 10 starts the year before? There was also a lockout that pushed the FA period all the way back to August of that same year. The roughest times

  42. Defense Rules Says:

    Stormy … ‘You cannot cut or trade every damn vet. Anyone remember ‘Youngry’. The team was completely gutted of any leadership, and it took 10 years and 4 coaching staffs to recover. The team needs to retain leadership while you retool. No way do you tear it all down. That’s absurd and bad business for the Glazers.’

    Finally someone making sense. Great perspective on retaining key LEADERSHIP. Leaders like Jensen (and previously JPP & Suh) set the tone for their position groups. Without the ‘field generals’ the ship is rudderless.

  43. Tnoles Says:

    Gotta say hicks reminds me of “cheeks” Chris baker! Just here to collect a check and ride out a contract. If your going to do that then why not have resigned jpp and suh?? Do you realize suh is playing on a 2 million contract, we couldn’t swing that?? So sign hicks and blow cash on a dude who is constantly in the training room. No availability is almost as bad as not even being on the team. Licht wad one year off on his desire to go younger on the defensive line. That hurt the team.

  44. Buccaneric Says:

    Let’s hope coaches can coach up all the young talent they’re about to get.

  45. Defense Rules Says:

    EliotT … Pushing $24 mil of the $35 mil that we owe to Brady to 2024 will make next year even worse than this one might end up being. Kicking the can further down the street is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. And in 2024 we’ve got several key players to re-sign who are ‘must-haves’ … Wirfs, Winfield, Evans? And oh ya, we’ll probably still need a QB.

    Voided contracts in 2024 already total $38.4 mil to 9 different players. Adding $24 mil to that makes it over $60 mil (even more than this year). And since we already owe $47.3 mil to 12 different players in 2025, slipping 2024 to 2025 doesn’t work either. Folks need to face facts: the bill is due.

  46. SufferingSince76 Says:

    You do not get rid of Jensen.

  47. Hodad Says:

    What do the puppet masters the Glazers want to do?

  48. Bucamania Says:

    Pay the Piper now. 2023 is going to be brutal.

  49. Esteban85 Says:


  50. Redeemer Says:

    What are the goals? If it’s to win a wretched division and host a wildcard game, Duane is right. The saints slashed over 60 million cap dollars just to have a shot at Watson. They were able to field a team, pretty competitive too. I’m in agreement with many here to pay the bill now. They aren’t competing for a ring.

    It’s not quite as draconian as Polian makes it out to be though. When they first implemented the cap, the penalties were incredibly harsh. The 90’s 9ers are a prime example. Back then, the cap didn’t go up by these wild jumps we see now. The league is a printing press for money. These owners are all worth billions now. Of course it’s a business for these guys like any other. It’s more about cash in cash out and marrying that with a window to compete for titles.

  51. D-Rome Says:

    Anyone remember ‘Youngry’. The team was completely gutted of any leadership, and it took 10 years and 4 coaching staffs to recover.

    I hear you. My counter point is that the Head Coach at the time was inexperienced and had no real leadership qualities at the time.

  52. Realistic Says:

    As a lifelong 1976 Bucs fan and as much as it pains me, the reality is, we will suck next year (but I am used to it). We had 3 years of hope and won a Super Bowl. Eat all the dead money for next year. Let Trask play and at the end of the 2023 season, decide if Trask is the future and reassess what we need moving forward with money to spend in free agency. We probably will have a top 5 pick, maybe the first, so if Trask isn’t the guy, we are in a position to draft a QB and hopefully get it right this time. The good years lasted 3 seasons. Hell, we have more SuperBowls in the 2000’s than the Cowgirls and that makes me very happy.

    The Yuckaneers are back but hopefully not for another decade.

    Go Bucs!

  53. Ed Says:

    With Bowles as head coach you need a quarterback that has experience. Not Gabbert type experience, he’s not been a winner. Bowles will not develop a quarterback but with Evans and Godwin being exceptional possession receivers all you need is some speedy guys that can explode once and awhile.

    Trading is a good idea as the other team assumes the contract responsibilities. As much potential as Devin White and Vita Vea have, they have great reputations but really havn’t given the Bucs a big return after Superbowl in ’20 season. They are both top 5 picks so maybe you can pick up some 2nd/3rd rounders for them.

    Evans and Godwin I would only trade for at worst a late first round pick. They are more valuable than lower picks and are the stability of the offense.

    A vet like LVD should be resigned but I understand he is at the end of his career and has been well paid up until now. Jones and Gage are easily replaceable, the Bucs really missed on Gage, he was broken from the start and Jones is ready for retirement. Brate has had a decent career but he isn’t valuable on a team like the Bucs. Rudolf was a big waste also.

    Licht really missed on the free agents big time. Other than Shaq Mason, none of them were important or came up big in any games.

    I think the Bucs secondary is pretty good although I question the way Bowles has them playing off receivers. Kicker, can’t have a guy that can’t go beyond 50 yards. RB’s, Lenny isn’t the answer. White can be an average back so someone else needs to be signed.

    Offensive line except for Jensen, Wirfs and Mason should all be history. Most dissapointing unit other than special teams on the team. Bye, bye and don’t let the door hit you as you leave D Smith, you’ve picked the Glazer’s pockets long enough. Hainsey as a guard ok and Goedke, make him a tackle because he can’t play inside.

  54. Crickett Baker Says:

    I wonder how many OCs we tried to hire who said “No thanks”.

  55. Mrsandman Says:

    Lol, the bucs didnt made a super team and that was the biggest mistake. Licht should have gone for Gilmore in 2021 and also for von miller in 2022. Now the cap situation isnt even that bad but the team is going to be terrible anyway.

  56. Brian Says:

    Licht will be gone after next year. Check out his record prior to BA and Brady. Can’t build a consistent team and. What exactly is his teams identity/strength

  57. sasquatch Says:

    Crickett Baker Says:
    February 3rd, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    I wonder how many OCs we tried to hire who said “No thanks”.

    Zero. They haven’t “tried to hire” anyone yet. You don’t make offers if you aren’t done with the interview process. They were going to cast a fairly wide net.

  58. David Says:

    I agree with Polian. Brady is gone. There is no reason to not rectify stuff as soon as possible and draft a young quarterback. They have some good lineman, need a little more help and the biggest cost is Donovan Smith. Time to move on. Fournette, definitely time to move on.

    The only two over 30 I would not move on from is ME13 & LVD. I would do everything possible to sign them both for a couple more years so they can retire Buccaneers.

  59. steele Says:

    The Bucs should do what Dallas did in 1989. The team was 95% gutted. Jimmy Johnson took over as HC, and, a great talent evaluator, stockpiled with a ton of young depth, which became the foundation of a dynasty. Or more recently, the Bengals and Seahawks.

    The problem is, the Bucs are saddled with Bowles Inc. and underperforming veterans. You don’t reach the full rebuild until hitting bottom. Gotta purge Bowles and the veterans, sorry to say. And great drafting, very aggressive action, is essential.

  60. Stormy Says:

    You have got fo keep some vet leadership in several places. The only vet Raheem had was Ronde.

    You keep Lavonte, Godwin, Evans and yes, Jensen. We’ve already seen what a Jensen less line looks like and it isn’t pretty. I really believe the rest of the line feeds off of it. Hainsey was serviceable, but the energy was not the same.

  61. THOMAS PFALZ Says:

    I would consider trading Shaq. Would cut Gage. Cut Smith. Move Wirfs to LT & get a tackle in the draft, along with CB. Two top priority’s.