Cap Clearance Could Tip Team Stance On Jamel Dean

March 11th, 2023

Jamel Dean

Joe was intrigued to see how the Bucs wiped out nearly their entire salary cap deficit by restructuring the massive contracts of Carlton Davis, Ryan Jensen, Chris Godwin and Vita Vea.

Per the numbers at, all of those guys had their 2023 salaries shaved down to about $1.1 million for the 2023 season, which means their real salaries were converted into a signing bonus. That move, per NFL rules, allows the team to move those players’ salary cap hits down the road.

So now it seems the Bucs are very close to being under the 2023 cap. However, they will need money to sign rookies and free agents, so look for more cuts coming soon. (Hello, Shaq Mason and Ryan Succop.)

The reworked contract of Davis, Tampa Bay’s No. 1 cornerback, really got Joe thinking. In 2024, Davis now will count at least $14 million against the cap whether he’s on the team or not, and it’ll be $8 million in 2025.

Would the Bucs really dig a cap crater like that at cornerback and still re-sign cornerback Jamel Dean next week at the $15 million-plus per season it will take to sign him?

If that happens, per Joe’s research, it seems like Davis and Dean would be be the most expensive tandem of cornerbacks in the NFL history — without a Pro Bowl between them.

As you’ll read here tomorrow, Dean’s game is not revered unanimously at One Buc Palace, so it’s even harder for Joe to believe the Bucs will break the bank to bring him back.

33 Responses to “Cap Clearance Could Tip Team Stance On Jamel Dean”

  1. Joe Blow Says:

    If they went ahead and extended Wirfs, White, and Evans, they could clear more than enough room to keep him and Lavonte, and then some.

  2. sasquatch Says:

    Dean is gone. He’s not worth what he’ll get paid.

    To make any room, they’ll have to cut Succop, Gage, Mason. Or start trading big name players.

    An extension for Wirfs isn’t going to help, as his 2023 salary isn’t that high to begin with.

    A deal for Devin White, if you went down that road, he wouldn’t take less for this season. Suppose you convert his 11 million to a bonus and give him a 5 year contract, you could spread 11 over 5 seasons, so you could reduce his hit this year by about 9 million… but you’d have to be ready to commit to a giant contract long-term, and I’m just not sure they are, at least not at the money White thinks he’s worth. So, I just don’t think that’s happening.

    Evans may not want to commit to the Bucs for another extension. That’s an unknown. If you could get him to sign a new contract adding 2 years, you’d probably need to get him up to 20, like Godwin, and give him this year’s salary as a bonus and spread it over 3 years, so his cap hit (minus pre-existing pro-rated bonus) this year would be about 7 million, saving about 6 million.

    I still say trading D. White and extending Evans is the way to go, which could give us another ~17 million.

  3. stpetebucfan Says:

    A typical NFL player can expect to be healthy and available for about 14.2 games out of 16 per season.

    Jamel Dean struggles to reach those “typical” standards for durability.

    In 5 seasons Carlton Davis doesn’t even come close to the average availability for the typical NFL player.

    Both CB’s are fragile. I’ve only used games missed and not counted games played while still injured and therefore not in top form.

    AGAIN…Tony Dungy was right..the greatest ability is AVAILability. The Bucs two corners are weak in that ability.

  4. Beej Says:

    I’m starting to view Dean as the Kwon Alexander of corners

  5. Whoolio? Says:

    All the people wanting the bucs to push salary cap issues even farther into the future blows my mind. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize this season will be a reset for the last 3 years crazy salary numbers. It sucks Lavonte has to go but it’s for the best for him and the bucs regardless of the sentiment. Pushing Whites salary into the future would likely come back to bite us cuz i dont feel like hes here long term.. Evans salary cap hit is already pushed well out into the future and extending that even further for a WR nearing the wrong side of 30 is not smart even if you want him to retire here. Dean was good but not worth the money he will get. It sucks but it is what it is.

  6. Pepsi Says:

    “Hello Shaq Mason” wait did I miss something? Why would we cut shaq mason?
    All about money. As Joe has written and said, the Bucs want Robert Hainsey on the field, Luke Goedeke, too. Mason is not the future and his status isn’t rock solid. It’s also unclear whether the Bucs will sign a left tackle. If the Bucs like the price tags on Dean and/or David, Joe is confident the Bucs would sacrifice Mason to make that happen. –Joe

  7. SB Says:

    OK then Joe, Who are these three studs you constantly talk about?
    Donovan Smith, Ryan Jensen and Wirfs or Mason in stead of DS?

  8. SB Says:

    * on the OLine.

  9. steele Says:

    Whoolio is right. Team has to literally pay the price for the last 3 seasons. You could see it start this past offseason with their refusal (financially and philosophically) to actually go all-in for a final Brady SB run. Instead of bringing in outside help, they lost key veterans and replaced them with cheap, injured, mediocre free agents and started in-house JAGs.

    But is this really the reset? Not as long as Bowles is in charge, and continues the same old. Not as long as too many of the jaded and underperforming are still around. Clearing some cap isn’t the same as a refresh restart, which is what this team badly needs.

  10. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Cap clearance is cap clearance no more no less. Now they are going to have to clear a lot more to sign free agents. Right now they are not sure who they are going to sign. Surprised Joe didn’t say the cap clearance was a tip team stance on Lamar Jackson.

  11. Allbuccedup Says:

    Notice they did not extend Mike Evans thats not a good sign hes usually the first to restructure his contract.

  12. dmatt Says:

    I agree wit u sasquatch,
    Dean is not worth the money he’s looking for. He bragged last year about the high number of ints he’ll get. He had two ints in one game n that was it. If he was ur Aqib Talib type player he’d have at least 8 ints or more a year, but due to his slow to react on certain plays n his butter fingers, passiveness, lack of field awareness, lack of aggression, n not knowing how to use his physical attributes n intangibles, in my opinion, he’s ur average Joe blow at cb. Let’s get aggressive n the draft n FA n bring in a top aggressive de to put pressure on the qb then we make JDean a decent offer or let him walk then bring in his equal, an average Joe blow at cb…problem solved n case closed. Why do we have a history of selecting passive n non aggressive players i.e.,OJ Howard, Ronald Jones, Jamel Dean, JTS,Gerald McCoy,SMB,Cam Brate,Dee Delaney?

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘If the Bucs like the price tags on Dean and/or David, Joe is confident the Bucs would sacrifice Mason to make that happen.’

    Can’t see the Bucs biting on Dean, but re-signing LVD to a 2-year, $16-$20 mil contract should be a no-brainer for the Bucs. And yes, ‘sacrificing Mason’ will probably be required to save enough to make that happen (looks like we’d save roughly $5.3 mil if we release him).

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Sasquatch … Your 11:53 PM comment is an EXCEPTIONAL ANALYSIS. It’ll be interesting to see what the Bucs do to increase CAP room in these remaining couple of days until free agency starts. The options are quite limited in reality. We’ve already restructured several of the high-earners, and I can’t see us doing anything with Shaq Barrett (too many unknowns at this point on the long-term ramifications of his injury). Doesn’t leave us many other possibilities to tinker with.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Whoolio? … ‘All the people wanting the bucs to push salary cap issues even farther into the future blows my mind. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize this season will be a reset for the last 3 years crazy salary numbers.’

    Bad news Whoolio. That ship sailed 2 days ago when we restructured the contracts for 4 of our high $$$ players. 2024 will be a repeat of 2023, except maybe worse. The numbers still look good on the surface, but that’s only because we have comparatively few starters & key rotational players under contract for 2024.

    Think about it: we were about $58 mil OVER the 2023 salary CAP to start, then we released Donnie (saving around $10 mil), meaning we were still almost $50 mil OVER the CAP. Then we restructured 4 contracts, pushing all the rest to 2024 & 2025. All we did was slide 2023’s overage to 2024 & beyond. The only REAL solution we made was releasing Donovan, and even that comes with a very high future cost: replacing him.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We will have cap problems for the next two years… least. Those that propose dumping a bunch of money on a QB need to consider that.

    Dean is history…the only good thing about that is we will receive a comp pick for him because he’ll be picked up at a good salary.

  17. DJB Says:

    The cap is projected to be extended by approx. 30M in 2024, which would be helpful.

  18. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    On the bright side in 24 we’ll have 2-3 3rd rd comp picks for free agents lost this offseason plus a few more in later rounds

  19. Brandon Says:

    He’s priority number one irregardless of how Joe or any of the knuckle draggers think. Good young CBs are hard to come by. Licht is too smart to allow him to go. Bowles may be gone after this season but young proven talent must be retained.

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Sasq/DR

    I agree.

    Trading D. White and extending Evans is probably the way to go.

    I don’t believe the Bucs want to sign D. White to a long term deal right now.

    They could also restructure Gage which would give the Bucs @ $4.6M in cap space.

    I am curious what kind of compensation the Bucs could get for White. Hopefully at least a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

  21. darengibo Says:

    Doesn’t the cap go up by quite a bit next season?

  22. Marine Buc Says:

    @ daren

    According to Over the cap – they have next years cap at $256M.

    It is currently $224.8M.

    A possible increase of $31.2M.

  23. Bosch Says:

    More mismanagement of the cap. More desperate moves. Another decade of irrelevance just began. Very sad.

  24. Stebobucsfan Says:

    Question Joe, you just stated that the Bucs are not quite under the cap yet. However, I just read on other Bucs site that the Bucs are at least 3 to 6 million under the cap

  25. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Stebo

    According to “Over the Cap” – the Bucs are @ $5.6M over the cap.

    However this does not include the release of Brate and Fournette…

    Once those releases are figured in it drops the cap number to a few million under the cap.

  26. DRFEELGOOD Says:

    Don’t forget. We won’t have Brady’s huge dead cap number next year because we are sucking it all up this year. Won’t be the same cap situation the next two years.

  27. Beej Says:

    I was just about to say the exact same thing DRFEELGOOD

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … The salary CAP normally increases at around 8%-10% per year anyways. If I understand correctly, the new NFL agreements with the media brings in more $$$, and they have to share that with the players (who get 48% of it apparently, reflected in the salary CAP). According to Spotrac, the 2024 salary CAP is estimated to be at $235 mil (probably low). The 2023 CAP is set at $224.8 mil, and the 2022 CAP was set at $208.2 mil.

    The increase from 2022 to 2023 works out to be 8%. But if Spotrac’s estimate for 2024 is correct ($235 mil), that’d only be an increase of 5%. That seems way low to me, but hey, it’s not my money.

    Over-the-Cap shows Bucs as having a $256 mil salary CAP in 2024, but that’s the ‘Adjusted CAP’. No idea based on what I’m seeing on their site how much of an ‘adjustment’ they put in there. In reality I’m not sure it matters all that much. If Bucs get a ‘salary CAP bonus’ in 2024, everyone else will too. Salaries will go up for everyone, on all 32 teams. Thus any ‘advantage Bucs’ disappears because we wouldn’t be treated any more ‘special’ than anyone else. Bottom line is that the bill for 2020-2022 has come due, and it has to be paid.

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘Trading D. White and extending Evans is probably the way to go. I don’t believe the Bucs want to sign D. White to a long term deal right now. They could also restructure Gage which would give the Bucs @ $4.6M in cap space.’

    Wow, a lot in there. I don’t think the Bucs really want to trade White, at least right now (LVD’s status is a big ??? and White’s on costing us $11 mil this year). I do believe they’ll ultimately give Mike Evans a new contract, but one that’ll slide a big chunk of it to the out-years. Not a fan of extending Gage (too many injuries although I love his game), but restructuring may be useful. Again, though, it’s like the old Fram filter commercial used to say … ‘Pay me now or pay me later’.

  30. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    Why are they keeping both Evans and CG ?? Also how is Shaq Barrett still
    on this team, but they made a huge mistake giving Carlton top CB money and can’t see them doing that with Dean. It should be a no brainer with trading either CG or Evans and dumping Shaqs contract, but just looking at the amount of money they spent to keep those players is mind boggling especially Shaq because we all knew he wasn’t worth that money and yet still robbed Bucs Palace. It just show that JL and the higher ups are jokes and not to be taken serious. If they win 3 games next year I will be shocked, but it’s time to do a full rebuild and stop wasting money on injury prone players !!! And please stay away from Lamar !!! It’s going to be a Yuuuucy couple of seasons and fans need to accept it

  31. Defense Rules Says:

    Yucs2Bucs … ‘It’s going to be a Yuuuucy couple of seasons and fans need to accept it’.

    Agree that the next 2, probably 3, seasons are gonna be, shall we say ‘challenging’. And yes, they COULD end up being very ‘Yuuuucy’ OR they COULD set us up very nicely for the future. Which one of those 2 scenarios comes to fruition is in our hands.

    We’ll be setting the stage by who we sign & re-sign in these coming weeks. Every team has to have a ‘core’ of experience to build from (other than that, the NFL could just ‘promote’ teams like Georgia & Bama to NFL status and give Athens & Tuscaloosa their own franchises. Not gonna happen obviously.

    Bucs have the 2023 draft to help broaden that ‘core’, and then probably the next 2 drafts to flesh it out. That’s potentially 18-20 players not on the roster right now who’ll be ‘good to go’ for the 2025 season. But someone has to lead them, and that’s where today’s ‘core’ comes in IMO. Guys like Wirfs, Godwin, Vea, Winfield … they become the ‘big kahunas’ on this team.

    None of us know yet how this whole ‘retooling’ (sure, let’s go with that) will turn out. But the decisions we make Over the next couple of months will impact it tremendously.

  32. Jon Grudin Says:

    Evans and God wouldn’t have to be the most expensive wide receiver duo in history so why not add Dean and Davis as the most expensive cornerback to it.

    Bucs will either be able to keep Dean or SMB but not both. Between the two Dean is the better player.

  33. Yucs2Bucs Says:

    I agree to a point defense rules, but look at the coaching staff and Licht ?? That’s the biggest concern and you say we have some players with sack, but no leaders !!! Look at the Fins making moves and bringing in Jalen Ramsey. Tommy is going to love playing for that team and obviously when TB came it brought a new energy that players bought into, but the second and 3rd year those players were cocky, injury prone and obviously didn’t play to their potential because when you lose leadership last season was the perfect example. Why they brought Todd and Byron to lead this team was absolutely mind blowing and just imagine if they would have brought in Frank Reich or the coach who took over for Jacksonville. I will say because of what we have ( and everyone would be on the trading block except Whirfs ) the next 3 seasons are going to be brutal!!! Why keep guys that they could get picks for like Evans, Godwin, and so many others ? Hopefully they will and JL needs to hit this draft and next and not sure he’s capable