Offseason Prediction

January 25th, 2024


Yeah, since this is dealing with the biggest man on the Bucs roster, this would be a big prediction.

Joe has read many comments saying the Bucs, in addition to re-signing Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield and Lavonte David, still have another guy they need to have put pen to paper. That would be left tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Joe always found this confusing. Why worry about Wirfs? He’s already under contract through the 2024 season. The other aforementioned players could become free agents in seven weeks. Those guys are significantly more important in the near term than signing Wirfs.

Then Aaron Schatz educated Joe. In making a “big” prediction for the Bucs this offseason, Schatz, the founder of Football Outsiders (RIP) and the developer of DVOA, believes Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht will redo Wirfs’ contract to keep him with the team for the next few years but also reduce the numbers so the Bucs won’t be so choked with the cap this fall.

Big prediction for the offseason: The Buccaneers will sign left tackle Tristan Wirfs to a contract extension to keep him with the team through his peak years while lowering his 2024 cap hit of $18.6 million. Wirfs ranked 23rd among tackles in pass block win rate (89.5%) in his first season after switching from the right side to the left.

So that explains it. And that makes sense.

As far as the win-block rate that was included in Schatz’s note about Wirfs? Joe believes that was added by a BSPN editor.

Joe heard a podcast last year in which Schatz appeared and not only was he very suspicious of BSPN’s win-rate on blocks stats, BSPN apparently had Wirfs’ blocking as low when it came to win-rate and Schatz openly questioned the legitimacy of the statistic in relation to Wirfs.

That’s one example of why Joe liked Football Outsiders so much. They were all math nerds and stat heads but they didn’t swallow numbers hole. They mixed stats with common sense and reason.

30 Responses to “Offseason Prediction”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    Wirfs got injured in that 49ers game and it took a while before he looked elite again – so I wouldn’t doubt his numbers dropped a little. But it was clear what happened, and his numbers before that was fantastic. Thankfully Wirfs is under contract so while they can, and should, try to get something done early, it is a deal they can put off if they had to.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Aaron Schatz … ‘Buccaneers will sign left tackle Tristan Wirfs to a contract extension to keep him with the team through his peak years while lowering his 2024 cap hit of $18.6 million.’

    Like you said Joe, that makes perfect sense. We don’t have nearly enough CAP space to work with right now, and signing Wirfs to a long-term contract will allow us ‘massage’ his 2024 CAP Hit down to probably $10 mil or so. Saving $8 – $10 mil MORE to play with is a big deal in our situation. But that type of deal has to be done early-on so we know what salary CAP space we’re dealing with.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Jenna Laine’s article a few days ago (21 Jan) after the game had some very interesting quotes from 3 Bucs players …

    Baker Mayfield … ‘I love this group, I said that all year. And it’s authentic. I mean that. It would mean a lot for me, to bring back a lot of key pieces, to get this back together, to get it to Year 2 in the system, you can make huge strides. I would love that. Obviously, who knows how it’s going to play out, but I can’t say enough about this organization and the opportunity they gave me this year. Just thankful, and I hope it works out.’

    Mike Evans … ‘I’ve been on record saying how much I love this place and how much I want to be here. Not a lot of guys finish the one team, so that’ll be amazing if I get to do that. But we’ll see. I’m still trying to get over this loss. It’s meant a lot to me and my family. I didn’t grow up a Bucs fan or anything like that, but we’re lifelong Bucs fans no matter what happens. I love the city and I love the franchise.’

    Chris Godwin (on Mike Evans’ return) … ‘It would be amazing. I think him not being here sounds and feels very, very weird. I don’t like that we got to this point. But hopefully we can keep this thing going.’

    Chris Godwin (on Baker Mayfield’s return) … ‘He fit right in. I think we had bunch of fighters — guys fighting through the same types of things — and I think he came in and fit the mold. I think we all love Baker and we have a lot of respect for him. We can’t control the business side of it, but we hope that they’ll be able to do it.’

    Quotes like that say a lot about what the Bucs’ players really think of this team. No doubt in my mind they believe that they can take this even further. Bring back our key FAs, add a few other high-performing FAs, have another great draft, and who knows what the future holds?

  4. 76 bucsfan46 Says:

    Keep the band together and address the O-Line and pass rush and strong safety. If we do this we will be ok.

  5. K_bassuka Says:

    Good franchises will always prioritize keeping the hard to replace players. Therefore, we should focus on keeping 1. Winfield, 2. Evan’s, 3. Wirfs (re-sign), then focus on the easier to replace players like 4. LVD (doess more for the defense than Barker for the offense) & 5. Maybefield

  6. bratsNbeers Says:

    light makes it work each year. i thought last year we were toast with the dead money from brady, so did everyone else- and they beat the eagles in the playoffs. this year starts from a better position and we can get all the players we want into deals.

  7. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    The Bucs are a few pieces away from a deeper playoff run if not win the SB. If Dean doesn’t go down, our Oline doesn’t allow unblocked sacks, we have a pass rush, and people don’t drop balls then we are in the NFC championship with an equal chance to win. Fix the those things while keep the best and trimming the fat in FA and draft has me excited for next season.

  8. TDTB Says:

    I think any fan in their right mind would want to keep the band together. However, the Buc’s kicked the can down the road so many times in the past 5 years that in my opinion the best thing for the franchise is t: 1) resign Wirfs as stated in the article; 2) resign Whinfield; 3) let Mayfield go; 4) let Evans go; 5) let White go; 6) cut Barrett; 7) cut Jensen (assuming there’s not a substantial probability he can make it back); 8) roll with Trask or a QB on a one year prove it deal; 9) draft some replacements; and 10) clean up the financials. They got lucky this year and made a run despite not having a complete roster (which I’m guessing Licht and company were hoping for), but it’s time to reset the financial clock. If they don’t, they’re going to be stuck in the “close but not good enough” category for a long time.

  9. ModHairKen Says:

    Every offseason when the team is competitive, it is like this: an urgency and concern with the cap and keeping a player or multiple players who are key.

    We saw that the Bucs chose Dean and Davis and let Whitehead and Edwards go. In hindsight, that did not work out.

    Baker cannot expect more money than Brady received. Wirfs and Winfield cannot expect to be paid the highest at their position, either.

    Look at teams that have overpaid for QB: Cincinnati. Cleveland. Dallas. Chargers.

    Tampa went far on a very inexpensive contract for a QB. Farther than those others.

    So this is where the genius of Licht and his #2 man are on full display. Who to keep and at what cost?

  10. Tampa Chuck Says:

    Absolutely, we gotta find a way to keep our elite tackle. Like most, I thought maybe 5-6 wins before the season. This team surpassed everyone’s expectations. As much crap Todd Bowles gets from fans (some deserving), I think he’s done a really good job keeping the ship in the right direction. Jason Licht is a top 5 GM. What a Diamond in the rough bringing in the rookie OC. Basically we have a young Pete Carroll who could very well earn the Bucs HC position after Todd. Things look very bright going into the draft. Fully confident Licht will be able to work his magic and find exceptional talent throughout the draft and bring back our key talent. The expectations should be at least be a ticket to the NFC Championship next season.

  11. D-Rome Says:

    Then Aaron Schatz educated Joe. In making a “big” prediction for the Bucs this offseason, Schatz, the founder of Football Outsiders (RIP)

    Wow! I didn’t know. I’ve cut down my internet browsing to just a handful of sites these days so I haven’t been to FO in about 9 months, but this was always a great site and superior to PFF.

  12. Beeej Says:

    “3) let Mayfield go; 4) let Evans go;”

    By all means, effective FA quarterbacks are a dime a dozen. Atlanta has tried half a dozen, as has NE, Denver, Vegas …. Yeah, let Mayfield go

  13. adam from ny Says:

    so what do you guess for big tristan?

    6 years 150 mil ?

    8 years 200 mil ?

    8 years isa little crazy but after all, he is the guy…

    do you lock him down for the rest of his career ?

  14. TomBucsFan Says:

    do a 6 year deal with small cap hits each year and give him a huge signing bonus. Make room for all our other FA’s that we need to re-sign.

  15. JimBobBuc Says:

    Keep Canales, Baker, and Evans as a package. If Canales goes, then say goodbye to Baker and Evans. If Canales et al stay, bring in a reasonably priced free agent center. I like the character of Hainsey, and he got stronger this year, but he’s reached a plateau and still isn’t good enough. Draft some guys to play guard/center and maybe move Mauch to center if we don’t get a good FA center. Draft a RB1, White can catch it as a third-down back but he leaves a lot of yards on the table as a runner.

    On defense, bring Winfield back. We are really hurting at SS, I don’t see any guys on the roster that can play SS well. So we need to draft one, or bring in a FA. I’d give Josh Hayes a try at SS as he’s been pretty good in punt coverage.

    We desperately need a pass rush, Kancey and YaYa made big strides, but they need help. I’m not sure we can afford any FA’s, but there are some up and coming FA pass rushers out there. Go to Spotrac and look at QB pressures and current salaries.

  16. Pickgrin Says:

    Duh – of course Licht will do his best to lock up Wirfs to a long term contract early on – and thus save $ against this year’s cap #. How could Joe not know that was the plan??

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    TomBucsFan … ‘do a 6 year deal with small cap hits each year and give him a huge signing bonus.’

    Tristan is a ‘must-have’ in my book, but there’s a danger in doing deals TOO long (ie, Ryan Jensen’s situation?). If a player gets hurt neat the beginning of the contract, you eat the rest of it … for years. That’s one of the things I don’t like about the way the NFL treats long-term injuries (it’s not the team’s fault obviously that the player got hurt & can’t come back, but the team pays a massive salary CAP hit regardless).

  18. doolnutts Says:

    Defense Rules –

    We actually have a ton of cap. Just today without doing a single thing we are 9th in the league in cap space available. Cutting Gage and I think we all agree we will would earn us the 7th most amount of cap space available at almost 59 million.

    If we decide we need more than 59 million we can resign Wirfs or restructure deals like Dean and Vea which would give us 77 million giving us the second most in the league. I see it less likely that we restructure the deals because we will have enough to do what we want but if someone doesn’t get signed this year it isn’t because we are cap-strapped it will be because JL didn’t want them back or think they are worth what they received in the open market.

    Eitehr way this will be a very exciting offseason.

  19. Pickgrin Says:

    doolnutts Says:

    “We actually have a ton of cap.”

    Somebody’s living in rainbows and unicorns eating soft serve ice cream land…


  20. stpetebucfan Says:

    @Doolnuts and Pickgrin

    I have an enormous amount of respect for you Pickgrin. I’ve always felt you are one of the best posters here.

    But I SUSPECT we may disagree here. I’m with Doolnuts.

    I left a post on the TJH thread with the SPOTRAC info and a bunch of questions.

    I asked D.R. there and I’ll ask you here to please read it an educate me and Doolnuts as to what the hell is the truth and why the Spotrac numbers look so good? I honestly do not know!

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Spotrac says right now the Bucs have $48.7M in cap space available.

    But only 34 players are currently under contract.

    If we want to compete well and have some continuity – we have to bring back our top free agents – right.

    So here are spotrac’s estimates for the value of those free agents.

    Mayfield – $27.1M
    Evans – $23.8M
    Winfield – $18.5M
    LD54 – no estimate listed but $6-8M is about what LD will earn if he returns.

    Do the math – those values for just 4 of our free agents that you KNOW Licht wants to bring back add up to $75M.

    Even with backloading and creative structuring and cutting Gage and whatever cost cutting measures you want to take – the Bucs are going to be VERY tight against the cap this year and will have almost nothing to spend when the free agent dinner bell rings as Joe likes to say….

  22. adam from ny Says:


    so what are you saying?

    less than a 5 year contract for wirfs?

    you gotta give him 5 years at least or maybe 6…

    i get it that 8 is madness but 5 at 125 is the least…

    because 5 years from now, a top tackle could be making 50 mil for a season (salaries keep jumping)

  23. adam from ny Says:

    also unlike with many teams where your skill position and qb’s on offense tend to be faces of the franchise, or a top d-lineman or LB…

    wirfs is undoubtedly a face of the franchise right now – and moving forward…

    he gives good podium, is well spoken, and is becoming more of a vocal leader…etc…etc…

    barring some tragic sh!t, the bucs might have already fit him for his gold jacket already……lol 🙂

  24. adam from ny Says:

    he really is ———–> tristan “the wall” wirfs

  25. Dave Pear Says:

    Get it done, Jason. But, as you scour the universe, it’s not all bad to find another LT and see if Wirfs can go back to his HOF level RT spot. Although Wirfs probably doesn’t want to do that now that he’s made the change to the money spot. In any case, Jason will do the right thing.

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    Adam from NY … Don’t know of any players (except a couple of QBs) who have 8 year contracts; there’s just too much risk if the player gets hurt. For a player like Wirfs though, I could see doing a 5-year contract at say $25 mil/year, maybe 3 years guaranteed, with a very healthy signing bonus. That’s still a LOT of risk (remember Carl Nicks?) but Tristan’s worth it IMO.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … Great analysis, as always. I do hope however that you unintentionally left out McLaughlin. He’s gold.

  28. adam from ny Says:

    there will be stipulations in his new contract…

    – no jumping from pools
    – no carry trees
    – sit at home like a house pet between seasons…and stay ready


  29. Let EM Bake Says:

    Brian Burns….please.

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Yes – DR – Mclaughlin. It was unintentional and YES he MUST be re-signed Add another $4M….

    $75-80M worth of free agents we HAVE to bring back – and only $50M in cap space to work with.