Who To Re-Sign First?

October 9th, 2023

Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht has tough decisions to make in a few months.

First up is Baker Mayfield. If the Bucs quarterback continues to play at his current pace, he’s not going to be cheap. And to keep him, well, Mayfield may demand Licht also re-sign the next player on this list who won’t be cheap, either.

Mike Evans wants to get paid. He’s posting numbers that suggest he’s worth another big contract.

Then there is Antoine Winfield who is totally balling out at safety. He’s having his best year, easily. So he won’t be cheap.

However, NFL insider Jeremy Fowler of BSPN seems to think that the first guy who will get paid isn’t a pending free agent. Rather, Fowler said don’t be shocked if the Bucs re-up Tristan Wirfs’ contract before the end of the season.

The premier offensive tackle has made a seamless transition from the right to left side this season, replacing Donovan Smith along Tampa Bay’s line. Wirfs is among the game’s best at the position. He’s got a fifth-year option in 2024, but talks could intensify later in the season. There’s precedent for this — the Bucs extended Vita Vea in January of his fourth season, before his fifth-year option.

There are a lot of moving parts here to make Joe think Wirfs will not be re-upped right away. The first is Mayfield’s status. Linked is also Evans’ status.

If Mayfield has a decent year and is re-signed and Evans remains, that will make it easier to lure an offensive coordinator. That’s right, Joe would not be shocked if Dave Canales is a head coach next year.

So the best way to lure a top-shelf offensive coordinator is to have a veteran quarterback and stud receivers. The Bucs have that if they choose to keep Mayfield and Evans.

Joe thinks Licht would want to keep as much cash as he can stashed away to try to keep Mayfield and Evans. If that is the case that just means Wirfs will have to wait one year to become filthy rich.

A Bucco Bruce Arians quote on Chris Godwin becoming a free agent applies to Wirfs, “Your ass ain’t going anywhere.”

50 Responses to “Who To Re-Sign First?”

  1. A Bucs Fan Says:


    Mayfield isn’t even on the radar yet unless he stays healthy and plays consistently through the season…

  2. doolnutts Says:

    Honestly I think the bucs will resign whoever they really want as long as their demands arent off the rails. I have full faith in the front office they have shown themselves to be extremely creative. They can resign Wirfs to a giant contract then lower the cap number or even add ghost years. He is just 24 so ghost years area none issue for him and us because he will be with the team. The same can be said for White as well.

    I love Baker so far BUT we cannot make the same mistake the giants just made with Daniel Jones. We should resign Baker if he continues to play well but at a very managable deal not a 4 year 160 million like DJ or other average Qb’s. We have a great supporting cast there is no reason why we cant continue to sign averages Qb’s for continued success. This by thee way seems a little safer than banking on some rookie QB. Some folks

  3. SB~LV Says:

    100 out of 100 times

  4. Bojim Says:

    Pretty sure Canales will be here next year.

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    Off-season will look like a game of musical chairs: more players to resign than money.

    I trust Licht to do the right thing. He has a solid track record of getting what he wants or needs.

    It is still early to make predictions about who to keep, not to mention Canales’ future with the team.

  6. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Wirfs is the franchise right now even before a QB-PAY TRISTAN.

  7. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    About 26 mil per year for 5 years with a huge signing bonus.

  8. orlbucfan Says:

    Staying out of this one. I have faith in Jason Licht, and he’ll pull a few more rabbits out of his hat. Let’s get past Detroit first.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Don’t forget we also have Devin White to resign…..and I wouldn’t be surprised if LVD gets another year…….
    Lots of money needed….
    Licht has made some great draft picks…..we have several playing elsewhere…..SMB, Edwards, Whitehead…..and I watched Justin Watson yesterday…..wow….he’s doing well for a 6th round pick……sorry Brady lost confidence in him because he’s only making $1 mil at KC

  10. Boss Says:

    wirfs, AW and DW in that order

    ME can go sit in the tub and drop balls elsewhere. and he aint getting the $$ he thinks. kind of a JW situation there. harsh reality is on the horizon

  11. Jvato24 Says:

    You didn’t even mention Devin White

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    I know this is a BYE week with slow Bucs’ news, but I really wish y’all would save pieces like this until after the season. There are so many unknowns & so many variables that it’s impossible to predict ‘who to re-sign first’.

    JL made 2023 work by restructuring a number of contracts (kicking the impact to 2024 & beyond), by re-signing several Bucs’ players inexpensively (Dean, LVD & several backups), signing several veteran FA starters inexpensively (Mayfield, Feiler, Gaines, Neal), drafting well (Mauch being a starter plus several others on the brink) & also signing a number of UFAs after the draft who’ve made the team (Izien now being a starter for instance). We had very little salary CAP to work with, but we weathered what could’ve been the perfect storm (despite losing Jensen & Gage for the season) with some very good decision-making AND more than our share of luck.

    2024 will be a very different animal. We’ve got FOUR key players who we drafted (Wirfs, Winfield, White & Evans) who’ll be looking for BIG contracts. We’ve got a couple other key players who we’ll probably want to keep (LVD, Delaney, etc). We’ve got several key additions who signed for relatively little this year but who’ll also be looking to get paid (Mayfield, Gaines, Feiler, Neal). Not to mention paying our 2024 draft class.

    And we’ll have to do all that with, yup, relatively little salary CAP to work with once again. 2024 will require some very different decisions than we saw in 2023 (very likely such as releasing several veteran starters in the last year of their current contract with us). Much betterIMO to wait until after our season ends to go through the Debbie Downer routine.

  13. pewter941 Says:

    Wirfs (Maybe Baker) Winfield, White over Evans strictly becauseof their age.

  14. uhmmm Says:

    Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean should be on the chopping block to sign all of these guys. Dudes cant stay healthy.

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    I love Mike Evans, but he’s pretty low on the list. Reciever is such an easily replaced position nowadays, right behind running back.

  16. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Some coordinators don’t want to be head coaches right away. The step from coordinator to head coach is pressure beyond belief. And Canales probably won’t want to be a head coach/offensive coordinator without taking his wide receivers coach. Sometimes they really aren’t motivated to pick-up their families every year. Tampa is a great city and he wants to really see his home grown offense flourish right in front of the whole world. I don’t think we will loose him after this year, plus Baker (if he continues to excel) would have a little say so especially if him and Mike Evans get new contracts.

  17. Lt. Dan Says:

    This is gonna sound blasphemous but…one very successful coach up north always believed in trading a player one year before they should be traded… trade ME13 after this year?

  18. infomeplease Says:

    I don’t believe DC is going to leave next year. He is a student of the game and hasn’t mastered play calling yet. He will stay until he has! And hopefully even longer. At some point he will be offered a HC job and will become a great one too! But first things first! That’s the good news for the Bucs. IMHO.

  19. HC Grover Says:

    In a few months it will be self-evident.

  20. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Sort of related but if/when BB gets fired or retires this season…what’s the over under the Bucs lose Spytek or Greenberg to the patriots as their new GM?

  21. stpetebucfan Says:

    I’m most concerned about the “guaranteed” money. The annual salary is one thing but when it’s guaranteed more than a season at a time with no injury buyout it creates some real cap liability if the guy goes down or ceases to perform up to his contract.

    EG I think ME13 is worth top $$ for 2024 IF he makes it through this year uninjured. But a long term deal frightens me. Same is true for Baker! Don’t mind what the Bucs pay him next year but as doolnuts pointed out with Daniel Jones a lot of money has been wasted. I don’t know how much the Pats have invested in Mac Jones a 15th pick in the draft but long term he’s not looking that promising.

  22. Dwayne Cone Says:

    One team that is doing well got rid of a high draft pick mistake, an 8 million a year QB, and went with a guy making just over 900 Grand to play. This guy is 8th in Passing right behind a guy making 45 million and just ahead of a guy making 33 million. Licht’s the Genius?

  23. Idroolpewter&red Says:

    I think it would make more sense to sign Wirfs earlier than later so that they can lower his cap value for next season, making it easier for the Bucs to retain both Winfield Jr. and Evans.

  24. Brandon Says:

    I like what Mayfield is doing but consistency and availability need to be proven. Until that time…

    1) Wirfs – he’s a rare talent and franchise LT
    2) Winfield – young safety just scratching the surface
    3) Evans – he should be a Buc for life… but at what price?
    4) White – don’t forget about him. He also has some things to prove
    4) Mayfield – If he can get through the season unscathed and looking like he’s looked the first four weeks, I can see him moving up to #2 on this list.

  25. Brandon Says:

    Tough trying to decipher salary dumps on Over the Cap website… but it seems possible that dumping Ryan Jensen, Shaq Barrett, and Russell Gage will clear up close to $50 million… we are already $62 million under next season’s cap. If my numbers are wrong, and they probably are, because there are numbers in RED next to the players, we have $112 million to spend on Wirfs, Winfield, Evans, White, and Mayfield.

  26. ScottyMack Says:

    An extension and long term deal with Wirfs would free up cap space, which they should have done with Evans already.

  27. ScottyMack Says:

    If Canales isn’t here next year, Baker will definitely have a record that will never be broken (if he doesn’t already have it) … most Offensive Coordinators in a career. He’s had a new one every year he has played (including three last season) . Crazy why Mayfield hasn’t been more consistent in his career (insert eye roll here).

  28. SlyPirate Says:


    Level 1 (critical): Wirfs, Winfield White(D)
    Level 2 (important but don’t break the bank): Baker, Evans, McLaughlin
    Level 3 (if you can): LVD, Delaney, Gill

  29. WyomingJoe Says:

    If Mayfield continues to do what he’s capable of, then he’ll sign a multi-year deal with the Bucs and give them a hometown discount because he believes that he’s found a home here. Wirf is a franchise player and he knows that he’ll get his money this year or next. There’s also no reason that ME can’t play another 3 years, and would also provide another hometown discount. DC is too smart to jump into a HC deal with another team because he knows that he needs more experience.

  30. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    White is not worth the payday he is looking for. Evan might be too old to get anything more than a two year deal. Wirfs and Winfield deserves to be the highest paid players at their position. Mayfield needs to keep on his pace to prove he worth a big payday, but so far, I only see the Bucs offering him around 20 mil a season, if not less.

    As for Canales leaving……we better get a draft pick in return.

  31. bucfanMX Says:

    wirfs and winfield not even have to question, pay them, from there, is more of, at what cost?

    DC will stay at least one more year.

    Baker will stay for middle of the pack money i think, 15-10, and it will be fine on both sides if he proves he can do it all season (probably add some bonuses there to make it better).

    Evans i think he will stay for less, if they make a good extension in terms of years, not saying he will be a buc for life (he deserve it), that being said, i dont think we will ever see again Jensen in our uniform, that will be to make space.

    DW will demand top 5 money, i dont think he will stay for less, so, he will be the first one gone probably (TB draft a good lb from PIT and i think LD have a couple of years at top lvl in him).

  32. Goodbuc'nlife Says:


    I love Canales but how many one year wonder OC’s have gone on to become a head coach? Even if we have continued success this year, isn’t it too soon to talk head coach for Canales?

  33. unbelievable Says:

    TIL that the armchair GMs think we can easily replace the all-time record holder and best receiver in franchise history.

    I guess I must have missed all the pro-bowl / HOF WRs we’ve been easily drafting for the last 10 years…

  34. Joe Says:

    I love Canales but how many one year wonder OC’s have gone on to become a head coach?

    Mike Tomlin springs to mind. Zac Taylor was a quarterbacks coach (only) for one year. Mike McDaniel was an offensive coordinator for one year. So it is not totally unprecedented.

    If the Bucs continue to play well, and Baker Mayfield continues to play well, if Joe is an owner looking to draft a quarterback in the first round knowing Canales’ resume with quarterbacks, Joe sure as hell would want to at least talk to Canales.

    And here is something to think about: What do you think the chances are if a team hires Canales, he brings Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans with him? Instant offense.

  35. Crickett Baker Says:

    Sheesh, Joe. Canales is just learning how to be an OC. Would he jump at a chance to be a HC anywhere? Hahahaa!

    BTW, I fully agree with DefRules. Now is not the time.

  36. orlbucfan Says:

    Speaking of Canales, you don’t think for one minute he doesn’t know the nightmare HC experience Bowles went through with the Jets? Ruminate on that one.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    Wirfs and Winfield have to be resigned.

    Everyone else will have to wait and see, but the Bucs can create a lot of cap space by trading Davis and Dean after the season — assuming Bowles is back. Bowles has turned the defense into a zone defense, and Davis and Dean are both ideal man coverage guys – and you can get zone corners for a lot less money. Dean and Davis would both have trade value as well.

    Now, to be sure, I’m not endorsing that idea, but if the scheme doesn’t use the guys, then use that money to keep the guys who are good fits.

    Also, the cap is going up again next year, and the Bucs can move money around. But also keep in mind by not tanking this year, the Bucs put a lot of this team on next years credit card, so there’s not nearly as much money available as people think. If the Bucs can make a playoff run, then great, but lets hope they make they run.

  38. CAbucsfan Says:

    Still need to re-sign D. White, L. David and Gholston, but Winfield Jr should be first defensive sign.

  39. Jay Says:

    Cutting/Trading Carlton Davis and Russell Gage would free Up over 20 Million next year.

    I think Davis is an important locker rooms presence, but both Players can’t stay healthy and are probably not woth the Money.
    Better Take the cash and try to resign the three w’s (wirfs/winfield/white)?!

  40. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Jeez,unless Mayfield explodes into Zach White, he will be first guy paid. GMs LOVE stability at QB. The dollars will flow towards what analytics says; QB, LT, secondary, Edge. Whatever is left goes to the WR group, then a mixed bag for your LBs/DTs/TEs/IOL. RBs are last on the list except for your specialists

  41. stpetebucfan Says:

    Hey Rod I couldn’t resist this. Not to interfere with your opportunity to call me some grade school name but on this one I totally AGREE WITH YOU!

    “Wirfs and Winfield have to be resigned.”

    Yes indeed! They are arguably the very best at their positions in the entire NFL.
    If not the best certainly at the top of the short list.

  42. George R Says:

    AW first, he will be a free agent and is playing at a all-pro level,
    Wirfs can be sign to a new deal that will bring his cap number down.

    I would sign David for again for 4.5 million and let DW walk, he wants 20 mil.
    Dennis will be ready next year.

    Mayfield will get the same 30 million like Geno Smith did.

    I think I would have to let Evans walk. can’t pay him 20 million with Godwin needing a new contract next year.

  43. garro Says:

    I really, really hate to say this but unless D white surprises me through the rest of the season, it would not bother me if we let him walk. Especilay if it means we can fit other key pieces. Wirfs, Evans, LVD, and AWJ to name a few. He is not the player some think he is. Sacks get headlines but there is way more to the game than splash plays. Problem for us is that we do not have any proven depth behind him…yet. Let him test the market.

    Go Bucs!

  44. garro Says:

    I really, really don’t like saying this, but unless D white surprises me through the rest of the season, it would not bother me if we let him walk. Especilay if it means we can fit other key pieces. Wirfs, Evans, LVD, and AWJ to name a few. He is not the player some think he is. Sacks get headlines but there is way more to the game than splash plays. Problem for us is that we do not have any proven depth behind him…yet. Let him test the market.

    Go Bucs!

  45. garro Says:


  46. garro Says:

    The naughty boy algorithm got me again. Don’t get this one.

    Go Bucs!

  47. garro Says:

    I really don’t like saying this, but unless D White surprises me through the rest of the season, it would not bother me if we let him walk. Especilay if it means we can fit other key pieces. Wirfs, Evans, LVD, and AWJ to name a few. He is not the player some think he is. Sacks get headlines but there is way more to the game than splash plays. Problem for us is that we do not have any proven depth behind him…yet. Let him test the market.

    I remember that everyone thought a LB named Barrett Ruud was a superstar with all the tackles he made. The problem was that most of them were way past the LOS and he could not cover my grandma. This is kinda how I view White.

    If Mayfield continues to be what he has been thus far we are gonna have to do some contract magic.

    Go Bucs!

  48. Pewter Power Says:

    Why do people always say that? Baker can’t demand anything from any franchise. Not after having to play on a 4 million dollar deal. Not even Brady could do that in New England. Otherwise maybe the coach wouldn’t be so bad at drafting players

  49. 941Boltsfan Says:

    The best part about Mayfield working out and potentially being signed for the future with the Bucs. Even though he was a highly drafted player, his unfortunate series of events that led him to Tampa he won’t have to set “THE MARKET” to get a contract.

  50. Dlavid Says:

    Let Evans walk unless he makes a team friendly deal ! I know everybody loves Mike and he has been great, but his performance has been slipping ! I know how much the Homers hate to hear that, but it is the fact he’s dropped some balls this year that were pivotal and games , he has a history of hamstring problems and it’s only going to get worse , and he is never going to be a take it to the house kind a guy ! He is great at catching the ball in the end zone, but yac I’ve never been a strength ! He is worth some good money, but they don’t need to overdo it with him .