Finding Money To Pay For Production

February 13th, 2024

The Bucs have Team Glazer loot to spread around this year. But will it be enough to re-sign their key free agents?

Lavonte David,Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield and Antoine Winfield are the big-monied free agents this offseason. The Bucs, per, currently have the 10th-most cap space at roughly $44 million.

Is that enough to keep the big four and have cash left over to sign the 2024 draft class?

Jenna Laine of ESPN threw out a couple of names, guys who could be released after June 1 to free up money.

One guy is Russell Gage. He wouldn’t hurt at all as he was on injured reserve all season, and he was barely felt when he constantly battled injuries in 2022. The painful cut to the hearts of Bucs fans would be Bucs sacks king Shaq Barrett.

Gage, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee prior to the start of the regular season, will count $13.35 million against the cap in 2024.

If the Bucs cut Gage, they’ll incur $6.9 million in dead money, but it would result in a cap savings of $6.45 million. If they declare him a post-June 1 cut, that will save them $10 million, but they also will incur $3.35 in dead money charges.

With Shaq, the money saved would be less.

Barrett has a $15.04 million option bonus due between the first (March 13) and fifth days of the new league year, and the team would not execute the option bonus if he’s released. The Bucs would need to designate him a post-June 1 release, which would allow them to count only the prorated amount, which would total $9.27 million, against their cap in 2024. They would have a net savings of $4.97 million, but they would also have a dead money cap charge of $17.4 million for 2025.

Cutting Shaq isn’t much of a savings. Joe wonders if the Bucs could redo Shaq’s deal, sort of what was done with Gage last winter, basically telling him they would have to cut him unless he signs a more team-friendly deal? And then the Bucs can pray Shaq bounces back in the second year after suffering an Achilles tear.

Joe would hate to play hardball with Shaq over what he went through last spring. But dang, the Bucs need more production from the edge than Shaq’s 4.5 sacks last season.

And if the Bucs release Shaq after June 1, they better already have someone better on the roster, not hope someone falls out of the sky onto the Glazer Shed or that Joe Tryon-Shoyinka suddenly blows up.

Interestingly, Eagles outside linebacker Haason Reddick, who is on the trade block, is looking for his fifth-straight double-digit sack season. He is currently scheduled to make $2 million less than Shaq in 2024.

29 Responses to “Finding Money To Pay For Production”

  1. Panhandle Buc Says:

    Gage is as good as gone! Seems like restructuring Shaq is our best COA if he is willing to. That cap hit ’25 hurts but Godwin is the only big FA that year (I believe).

  2. Panhandle Buc Says:

    *Wirfs is a projected ’25 FA…but let’s hope he doesn’t even sniff FA!!!

  3. TomBucsFan Says:

    as long as DW45 is gone, I am happy.

  4. Craig Says:

    In this particular defense Reddick would not get double digit sacks either.

    Shaq had to do too much edge sealing and covering tight ends this season. The few time he got to rush he did pretty well, but the other side of the line gave opposing QBs too much cushion. It is a team sport and Shaq got to see the bad side of that.

  5. BucDan Says:

    Gage gone. Palmer solidified his spot at #3 (IMO) and is on a low-round rookie deal. Same to be said of the other rookie WRs that should even some sign of flash last season (DT and Jarrett).

    I’m in for wan attempt at re-working Shaq’s deal. Never know what would be accepted. Possible to end up with something that works for both parties and keeps him on a team with the rest of the guys in question in FA. A fan can dream!

  6. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    GM’s get pretty creative with signing bonuses and void years, pretty sure they can bring back the key free agents and grab a few blue collar guys off the market

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “If the Bucs cut Gage, they’ll incur $6.9 million in dead money, but it would result in a cap savings of $6.45 million. If they declare him a post-June 1 cut, that will save them $10 million, but they also will incur $3.35 in dead money charges”

    Weird contract situation. Like for Gage & the Bucs you’d think an earlier parting of ways is better but it seems guarenteed to be after June 1 based on the savings for the cap / dead cash.

    Cutting Barret seems kind of dumb with his contract. We are kind of forced into re negotiating because the contract is way off the production now

  8. Babysitting bucs Says:

    Yaya kancey vita are locks on dline every body else can go or get traded.
    Dennis Britt barret watts are locks every body else can go.
    Every body can go at safety I wouldn’t resign Winfield because he let Cooper kupp run right past him in a playoff game. I’m not breaking bank for that.
    Davis can be traded dean can be traded simple as that.
    Zyon izien locks
    Mayfield can go
    Gage can go
    Resign Evans.
    Get another first and 7 and 6 round picks using next year’s draft
    Draft players that love football
    Then Win. It’s that simple. It’s no excuse Mr licht can give me its time to win without brady!! The clock is ticking my guy

  9. Cover deuce Says:

    Reddick is almost 30, will cost draft capital, and he’s looking for a bigger deal. So of course he’s on your radar.

  10. BucU Says:

    Gage’s and Jensen’s contracts and immediate career ending injuries crippled this team monetarily and competitively.
    What a shame.

  11. catcard202 Says:

    The Bucs FO Brain Trust can cut a few bottom rung guys outright, send Gage packing as a post-June1 designate; while restructuring Vea & Dean’s deals…& have close to $70M in cap space. (~$60M of that available during FA period)

    Gage’s Post-01JUNE cut would give the FO $10M in coin needed to sign rookie’s in early-mid JUNE (as has done repeatedly the last several years).

    So, there’s enough money to keep the band together (Baker/Evans/LVD/Winfield) & plug a few holes w/ low dollar role player Vet’s fighting tooth & nail to collect NFL paychecks…But just don’t see an extra $20M+ to pay for Riddick – who expects a new deal as part of trade – that will pay him $20-25M/yr.

    IMO…Let Yaya eat in 2024!!! That guy might be the solution to the Bucs pass-rush problem!

  12. BillyBucco Says:

    Don’t think Gage’s injury is “career ending”.
    These things happen in football.
    As stated earlier SF traded 3 first round picks for a guy who can’t play.
    Then have an MVP candidate in Mr Irrelevant.
    No excuses for this team.

  13. geno711 Says:

    Babysitting bucs Says:
    February 13th, 2024 at 10:48 am

    … every body else can go or get traded
    … Every body can go at safety
    … Davis can be traded dean can be traded simple as that.
    … Mayfield can go.
    … Draft players that love football
    Then Win. It’s that simple.

    Greatest laugh for me in weeks. Thanks!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We can’t keep forgetting Chase McLaughlin when talking about signings…..he will cost us.

    Gage is a very good WR when healthy……but I guess cutting him makes sense…..the problem is….are we going to be fortunate enough to have a healthy Evans & Godwin for the entire year again?

    I like David Moore almost as much as I like Palmer….

  15. Bobby M. Says:

    Shaq needs help to be effective, definitely a candidate to restructure. I believe he can still be effective but we need one more guy that can bring pressure. YaYa looks promising but is not a definite. Either draft or free agency but they have to get help.

    Also….not sure what we’re paying JTS but is he even considered a good value for a back up? He knows the system but is consistently ineffective. Curious if he might be released for cap savings.

  16. stpetebucfan Says:


    “I like David Moore almost as much as I like Palmer….”

    Agree! I like both of them. I love ME`13 but if he has to go…Palmer and Gibson become a lot more important and if Gage is healthy then things while not great could work out.

    CG14 is #1…Gage, Palmer and Gibson fight for 2nd 3rd and 4th WR.

    Targets remain..obviously White out of the backfield is a genuine weapon. Cade Otton continues to improve and Durham flashed some real potential and he is
    6’6″ 253, perhaps he can also block.

    Best scenario…keep Mike and let Gage walk but if Mike gets too expensive……

  17. stpetebucfan Says:

    Oops Moore not Gibson

  18. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I like restructuring both Gage and Shaqs contract. If they can both be had for team friendly contract I’d give them both a chance. We still need a 3rd receiver in my opinion. If have somehow got healthy, we’d have the top 3 receivers in the league.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘The Bucs, per, currently have the 10th-most cap space at roughly $44 million.’

    Spotrac has TWO conflicting numbers for our salary CAP space Joe. If you look at their summary of all 32 teams, it shows us with $43.6 mil of CAP space for the Top-51. But if you click on the Bucs (sitting at #12) and look at our expanded 2024 numbers, it shows us with an estimated $37.6 mil of CAP space. WHY the $6 mil difference? Not a clue, but the second number ($37.6 mil) shows the full methodology and it appears to be the correct methodology.

    The other misleading part of that number is that it’s based on 57 players. In reality though, 6 players are UFAs on VOID YEAR contracts and thus not on the team. Plus the 57 number is counting at least 17 players who were Practice Squad players last year. Most obviously won’t make the 2024 team.

    So in reality we’ve probably got 34 players or thereabouts on the roster who have a good chance of making the 2024 team. That $37.6 mil is gonna be spread mighty thin trying to add about 20 players to flesh out our roster.

  20. SlyPirate Says:

    $44M + Gage $10M = $54M

    With a 30% – 50% signing bonus, $54M is $70M-$108M.

    Let’s trust Licht when he says, “We have all the money we need.”

    Baker, Evans, Winfield are locked up. LVD depends on LVD.

    We really should be talking about FA possibilities at C, OG, MLB, and S.

  21. unbelievable Says:

    Obviously you try to restructure Shaq, but that takes 2 to tango.

    Cutting Gage is beyond obvious. I feel like Moore easily replaced his production / ability (and should have been playing all season over Jarrett and Thompkins).

    It will be tight but they’ll figure out a way to make the money work. That said, it doesn’t look like we will have anything significant leftover after resigning Mayfield, Evans and Winfield. And they’ll have to do all sorts of fancy accounting just get those 3 laid, let alone the other 10-15 roster spots.

  22. unbelievable Says:

    *paid lol

    But yes I’m sure they’ll be getting laid too

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    What’s all this talk of redoing/restructuring??

    Both Shaq and Gage have already had their contracts “redone” to the point of ridiculousness. Both have multiple dummy years already added to the end of their contracts.

    Guaranteed $ is guaranteed $! You can’t do anything about what was already guaranteed – just push the cap hit father into the future which has already been done to death with both these guys contracts – Shaq especially.

    The Bucs last “restructured” Barrett’s contract just 5 months ago – right before the 2023 season started to gain $10Mish in cap space that was desperately needed in order to get through the season solvent…

    Its pretty simple really.

    Gage counts $13.35M against the cap in 2024 if he is a Buccaneer – and there are 3 more dummy years tacked on the end of his contract totaling $3.55M.
    Gage’s Dead cap hit if cut (doesn’t matter if pre or post 6/1) is only $2.16M.
    2.16 + 3.55 = $5.7M Dead cap hit if released
    13.35 – 5.7 = $7.65M in savings by saying good bye and good luck to Russell Gage.

    Gage is almost certain to be cut.

    Shaq Barrett counts $14.19M against the cap if he is a Buccaneer in 2024 – and there are 4 dummy years added to the end of his expiring contract that total $17.4M ($ that was kicked down the road last year and during the Brady years). Shaq’s pre 6/1 release dead cap # is a staggering $26.66M – his post 6/1 release dead cap # would be $9.26M this year and the $17.4M would be owed in 2025….

    Bottom line is it costs an extra $4.9M to have Shaq play this year vs cutting him and still having to pay $26M (or $9M this year and $17M next year) with no player to show for it….

    Considering that many players/athletes are much improved in year 2 post achilles surgery vs the year immediately following surgery – its likely that keeping Shaq on the roster for the $4.9M difference will be worth it.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … My guess is that Jenna Laine didn’t look beyond 2024 to see the true impact of mortgaging the future via contract restructurings using VOID YEARS. We have a lot less flexibility than what some are assuming.

  25. vadertime Says:

    Keep Evans. Re-sign Baker. Re-sign Winfield. Negotiate with the rest. Clean out the under achievers.

  26. Beeej Says:

    Shaq may not be starter material but he’s certainly rotational material. He gets a lot of pressures

  27. westernbuc Says:

    I’d rather have Shaq back cheaper while we find his replacement

  28. beeej Says:

    It’s not so much the money Shaq MAKES, it’s more the money he’s already earned that we haven’t given him yet

  29. Capt.Tim Says:

    Guys posting numbers, like they are accountants specializing in Multimillion dollar contracts.
    Same guys pay to have their taxes done.

    Stop. Just stop. You are NEVER right. The Bucs always have more money than you think. Give your heads a rest.