Dead Money Maestro

July 6th, 2023

GM Jason Licht

One fun factor of Tom Brady retiring is general manager Jason Licht getting to flex for those in the world who think he rode Brady to a Super Bowl win — and Brady’s personal friends — without developing a great team around them.

Yeah, there’s way too much of that out there. Joe is still pissed that Peter King, the NBC Sports super insider, and 36 of his buddies disrespected Licht last year.

Joe has smacked around Licht plenty through his nine-plus years with Tampa Bay, but that was when Licht was either failing or holding a questionable résumé. That’s not the case in recent years.

The 2018 NFL draft was a mic drop for Licht; Vita Vea, Carlton Davis, Ronald Jones, Alex Cappa and Jordan Whitehead all were starters in the 2020 Super Bowl championship season. That’s rare NFL air.

And there were all kinds of critical moves from there, in addition to the 2019 draft that brought many more key starters and contributors. Joe could go on.

Still, Licht has detractors and doubters.

Joe can promise few are members of the NFL front office brotherhood.

Former Vikings GM Rick Spielman was on SiriusXM NFL Radio ranting today on what a stunning job Licht has done this season despite carrying the most “dead cap” weight in the NFL at about $75 million. (Dead cap very loosely means cap space in a given year unable to be used on a real player because it was committed previously to guys no longer on the roster.)

Spielman noted that three-fourths of the league has less dead cap this season than the $35 million the Bucs have tied to Brady alone.

Joe thinks it’s fair to say Licht’s finest hour not including the 2020 season would come this year if the Bucs find their way to a winning record.

Unfortunately, the Bucs have “dead cap” coming in future years, but the burden gets a lot lighter next season. It’s a flimsy price to pay for the glory years of Brady and the Bucs’ Madden-like lineup.

31 Responses to “Dead Money Maestro”

  1. Smashsquatch Says:

    Well said Joe, agree 💯

  2. Hodad Says:

    Doesn’t matter what King thinks, but what do the Glazers think? The family that writes the checks seems to be happy with the job the front office has done. Promotions were given to front office personel after an 8-9 season. Unlike fans, media, and the rest of the experts, the Glazers see Licht, who put together a superbowl winning roster in 2020, as someone who has a plan.

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Yea – the Bucs pushed more than $100 down the road so as to win now with TB12

    We are taking on as much of that debt as possible this year while still trying to field a competitive team. Which is a real tightrope walk….

    Unfortunately -we still have more than $50M in “bills” to pay over the next couple years – but the salary cap situation will be improving (slowly) moving forward….

  4. Oneilbuc Says:

    Why it can’t be just the bucs glory years ? Why you have to say Brady and the bucs? This is why no one respect the bucs or the fan base this is why I our team has been losers because the fan base and our bucs media don’t have no pride in the team!!
    First, the “Glory Years” is how many people referred to the Dungy-Gruden stretch of special play and historic defense. Second, since most people will remember it for Brady, it’s easier and appropriate. Heck, they say the same thing in New England, and in San Francisco for Montana and Young. –Joe
    The bucs won the super bowl as a team not just one player!! Remember the NFC championship game!!!

  5. stpetebucfan Says:

    Agree 100%!!! Again we in Tampa Bay are completely blessed with two incredible first class organizations! While it starts at the top with Glazers, who once they solidified their hold on ManU have been great owners of the Bucs as well.

    Jeff Vinik may be the best pro sports owner in all of Sports. And so it’s not surprising that both teams also have great GMs in Licht and Brisbois.

    Both are tasked with fielding winners in 2023 while dealing with cap space straightjackets. It’s one thing to BUILD a winner from scratch with tons of high draft picks…it’s another thing totally to continue to win when that first success comes at the expense of future salary constraints.

    This dynamic makes me excited to see how Licht and Brisbois teams fare this year.

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Oneilbuc Says:
    July 6th, 2023 at 7:09 pm
    Why it can’t be just the bucs glory years ? Why you have to say Brady and the bucs? This is why no one respect the bucs or the fan base this is why I our team has been losers because the fan base and our bucs media don’t have no pride in the team!! The bucs won the super bowl as a team not just one player!! Remember the NFC championship game!!!
    Ah, remember when you said “It’s Super Bowl or bust” over and over (the Bucs won the Super Bowl that year, if you had a clue you would’ve changed your name after that). Remember when you thought the Saints would win the Super Bowl with Jameis? How did that work out for you? How can you even call yourself a Bucs “fan”?

  7. NCBucfan Says:


    I’m no Brady nuthugger, but come on bro. Do you really think we would have won in 2020 with Jameis behind center? For better or for worse, that year will be remembered for Brady signing with the Bucs and leading them to the championship. The QB, especially an all time great one, always gets the credit.

  8. Duane Says:

    I think another missed point is that Licht kept the show rolling long enough to outlast and bankrupt the rest of the division. In a reset season for the entire division, he has a third of the cap in dead money, and a just a legitimate chance as the other 3 teams to make the playoffs. True success is a gift that keeps giving. We got a great run, saw the fall of the Aints, Dirty Birds, and Panthers, and have an ok chance at sticking it to them one more time. If they live up to the expectations of the pundits, we get the top pick. Its all gravy Buc fans. LFG.

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    I have to give Licht props for navigating really difficult cap waters as well as he has.

  10. Dew Says:

    2 Super Bowl wins this century. That’s like 10%. Buffalo has never won one. Awesome results.

  11. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Oneil The QB will always be the headline of the team. It’s been that way for years. Yes, football is the ultimate team sport, but it’s always been QB X and team. Mahomes and the Chiefs, Allen and the Bills, Burrow and the Bengals, Montana and the 49ers, and Brady and the Bucs and Patriots. Like it or not, that’s just the way that it is.

  12. Dooley Says:

    I’m with Hodad on this one and to think there are Bucs fans that still think Licht is on the hot seat, you know who loves the job he’s been doing? The Glazers and their team of accountants. So keep dreaming or however the hell that Aerosmith song goes. Licht is one who I legit hope can retire with the Bucs, especially if he can finagle 1 more SB ring hell make him team president and name a seating section the “Licht House” and pay Joe lol

  13. Oneilbuc Says:

    So I get it now you guys are more fans of players than the team ok got it!! And to answer the question about 2020 no body knew they were going to bring in AB and Gronk or Fournette. So please stop acting like Brady played with the same team. We know what happened when he actually played with the same offensive players Jamies had. And guess what I’m not blaming Jamies, Trask, Freeman, Dilfer, Trestaverdey or Sean King for not making it in Tampa it’s just the truth. Tampa is more of a college town than NFL all you have to do is look how you guys kiss Brady behind. You can’t even give credit to the rest of the team. Football will always be a team sport . Go ask Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and others. I will never celebrate one player for a super bowl victory.

  14. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Licht built a team including coaches that was attractive to lure the GOAT. And TB12 got a few extra pieces to follow him here. Gronk, Lenny and AB. All 3 of those “extras” played a big role in 2020 and SB win.

    Minus Brady and the 3 players I mentioned the Bucs had BA and his coaching staff and essentially the same roster in 2019 when the Bucs finished with a losing record and no playoffs.

    Plenty of credit to go around. Are you listening Oneillbuc? I know you love Jameis but even you have to admit Brady and his confidence and desire to win was contagious and put what Licht had built and what BA had envisioned over the hump and got it done.

    Brady haters gonna hate. The man played 23 seasons, 22 as a starter (and missed a full season with injury so 21 actual years) Was in 10 Superbowls (nearly 50% of those seasons) and won 7 (nearly 33% of those seasons). A SB title every 3 years on average…any team would love that. But a QB doesn’t do it alone (see last season with no oline).

    I think Licht has done a great job this off season given his cap predicament and if all goes well, might be his finest job yet. Just need that franchise QB. Maybe we have one in Traskerfield?

    Let the games begin!!! Go Bucs!

  15. Oneilbuc Says:

    Glass. You need to go see where those defenses was ranked but I guess I’m the only one who speaks the whole truth. Brady helped us win just like Brad Johnson did in 2002 . But act like he was the only reason like most of yall think is just stupid. And now every thing is hate when speaking the truth about Brady I guess you just going to ignore the championship game when he threw 3 picks and the defense steped up . I guess the defense didn’t have nothing to do with that either . Oh yeah I guess that’s haten to !! But as far as the bucs developing a quarterback I don’t see it I hope so but I can’t see it. We have a guy that was the number one quarterback in college in 2020. He had the most yards the most Touchdowns and a higher completion rate and sat 2 years to develop and most of yall don’t want to give him a chance especially Joe. So what makes you think they will develop one of those quarterbacks next year who will be thrown in to the fire? By 2025 mid season y’all will turn on him and you guys and Joe will be talking about the next quarterback class will be better than this one and that’s the problem with the bucs and the fan base. They need to build a power house defense and get a good running game and just plug in a guy at quarterback just not a old man and the bucs will win another Superbowl.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Oneil – there’s these things called paragraphs….

    Running 12 sentences together basically just makes 1 big jumbled mass of words that no one wants to bother reading…

    Or maybe its just your words that do that……

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    The only issue I have this offseason is that Licht is just spending money from next years cap to achieve this. I’d have rather took all the cap hits this season and just rebuilt – unless they legit thought they had a chance to lure Brady back. Who knows, maybe that’s till the plan — because I don’t know why you’d make these cap moves with the QBs on the current roster.

  18. stpetebucfan Says:

    O’Neill do you understand words like irony or projection?

    “So I get it now you guys are more fans of players than the team”

    You’ve been so glued to Fameis Jameis the moron who gets accused of rape, does many other stoooopid things at FSU, the Bucs take a chance and the idiot goes out and gets “blind drunk” (his words) and embarrasses and entire franchise.

    A guy who managed to throw an almost 5% int rate his last year with the Bucs.
    The Bucs had a shot to win JW’s final year but bonehead through a pick every 20 passes.

    Please spare us about being for ONE player. When Brady hung on one year too long many here including me pointed it out to the dismay of the people who love Brady like you love Fameis. Oh and how has Fameis done with the Saints?
    They had to hire and expensive free agent! If Jameis was all that why did N.O. feel the need to spend big bucks?

    JW has plenty of talent…from the neck down. He has NO character and is thick as a brick from the neck up. Go ahead and point out where my statement is incorrect. An ungrateful jerk who BETRAYED the team that took the gamble on his questionable character!!! Still makes me want to puke.

  19. garro Says:

    Nailed it Joe!
    Whether we win or not Jason has put together a roster despite having no money, that gives us a chance to repeat as NFC South champs.
    Resigning the guys he did is pretty amazing in itself.

    ILB Lavonte David
    CB Jamel Dean
    DB Dee Delaney
    OLB Cam Gill
    G Nick Leverett
    OLB Anthony Nelson
    DL Patrick O’Connor
    DL Deadrin Senat
    G Aaron Stinnie
    Also amazing that all the folks on here who want to run Licht out of town can still feel that way. 2022 8-9 Lost Wild Card Round, 2021 13-4 Lost Divisional Round, 2020 11-5 Won Super Bowl. All this after a 12 year playoff drought…and Dominic…How soon we forget.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Unfortunately, the Bucs have “dead cap” coming in future years, but the burden gets a lot lighter next season.’

    Unless I’m missing something (very likely), neither Spotrac nor Over-The-Cap currently shows what our 2024 Dead CAP will be Joe. And until THAT number gets plugged in, no way to know what our true salary CAP status for 2024 (and beyond) will be.

    Right now it looks dismal, but we still don’t know for sure what the base 2024 salary CAP will be obviously. What we do know is that any increase will apply equally to all 32 teams, so we gain no advantage there. Bummer, we need all the advantages we can get right now.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … ‘The only issue I have this offseason is that Licht is just spending money from next years cap to achieve this.’

    I agree with you on this, but I think JL has maneuvered through this 2023 minefield very adroitly. I had thought earlier that this year would be abysmal, but he retained enough talent & drafted well enough to give me hope even for this year. I for one (along with ONeilBuc & a few others apparently) happen to believe that a strong defense along with a middle-of-the-pack offense can still win it all. Unfortunately I still feel that we’re 1 draft away from having the base for that ‘strong defense’. Only time will tell though.

  22. Stormy Says:

    The whole “Jameis could have won with this team” argument and it isn’t all Brady ignores the simple fact that guys like AB, Gronk and Fournette signed here because of Brady.

    If the Bucs had stupidly kept Jameis (and paid him the stupid money he thought he deserved), everyone of those guys would have taken a hard pass. This team would still be looking for Championship #2. So yeah, it was Brady. He brought a winning mindset (as stated by more than one player) not the “check yo sheet” clown show that was Jameis Winston.

    As for developing a QB vs renting – who friggin cares???? Just win. Win another Superbowl and the boat parade will be just as much fun regardless of how the roster was assembled.

  23. Joker's Paradigm Says:

    Since football is supposed to be entertainment…at least I think its supposed to be entertainment…sometimes wonder considering some of the posts here, I think JL has built entertaining rosters since he got here.

    I’ve enjoy watching Mike, Godwin, Vita, David, Gronk, our Stud Right (I mean Left) Tackle and a large list of others play. And I’m looking forward to watching last year’s and this year’s draft players step up.

    Yes last year was certainly tough to stomach at times, but I can’t really put a lot of blame on JL. He did his best to keep a Super Bowl team together for a 3rd straight year. Not an easy task. The O-line was killed by an out of nowhere retirement and a HUGE injury to our stud center. The O-Line issues put a spotlight on Lefty’s lack of true O-Coordinator skills. Not to mention our star QB’s personal life went off the rails. Now JL certainly didn’t (or couldn’t) have seen that coming.

    I think JL drafts high character players, that for the most part, have worked out. No one is perfect. Not sure why some of you expect him to be perfect on ALL picks. I haven’t seen many (or any) of his picks arrested for domestic violence or strip club shootings.

    To me, JL has earned my trust. And I look forward to watching the teams he builds. Yes, yes, yes. I’m wearing rosey glasses. So sue me. I enjoy being a Bucs fan.

    GO BUCS!

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We didn’t have a roster problem last year…..we had a coaching problem coupled with a poor to mediocre performance from Brady.

    I do expect JTS, Hall & Kancey to be productive starters or Licht/Bowles can be blamed for them.

  25. SlyPirate Says:


    Please stop with the myopic diatribe, “Licht rode TB12 to the Super Bowl.”

    Only one GM got the GOAT onto their team. It was the greatest FA signing ever. Not sure why Licht doesn’t get credit for the brilliance of that signing.

    What GM doesn’t ride his players to Super Bowls? It’s so stupid.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    There is no “dead cap” if a player fulfills his contract.

    So I’m OK with extending players you know will play until the end of their contract.

    Now, their cap # may get big toward the end, but there is no “dead cap,” you don’t know what the actual “dead cap” is until a player is gone, just a projection.

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    I am with TBBF: the biggest Buc problem was and is coaching. Unfortunately, even if Canales is a genius, the team still has Bowles as HC.

    And that is a problem.

  28. 1#bucsfan Says:

    The soo called fans that want to run Jason out or bad mouth him for the job he has done aren’t fans at all. Just trolls. No tru Bucs fans wants Jason gone. Yea in the beginning it was questionable but he’s a vet now and is improving every year. I really hope we keep him for awhile and that who ever is his right hand man gets the job next. Great job Jason. Let’s get this division title

  29. miken Says:

    Interesting Joe points to the 2018 draft…. The drafted we traded the Josh Allen pick.

  30. Oneilbuc Says:

    No one knew Josh Allen was going to be good remember what school he went to.

  31. Drunkinybor Says:

    The Rams are in a similar situation. When the Rams bills are sue it should be massive