Contract Critics Chirping At Jason Licht

May 14th, 2024

They’re out there: Bucs fans and observers who think general manager Jason Licht put his toes over the line signing safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. to a historic contract yesterday.

Winfield locked down $45 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. He is the highest paid defensive back in the history of football.

That’s hard to believe when you consider defensive guru Todd Bowles moved Winfield to nickel cornerback in 2022 and it didn’t work too well.

Did Bowles not know Winfield was a living soon-to-be legend at safety?

Joe’s being harsh, but that Winfield relocation really stands out in the wake of the Winfield windfall, a contract for which Joe has no issue. The Bucs paid him outrageous money for two main reasons: he was a true gamechanger last season and they don’t have pass rushers to pay.

Some NFL minds, however, bristle at that kind of cash for a safety.

Charlie Weis, the iconic NFL quarterback guru and a good buddy of Licht, who was a guest on Weis’ SiriusXM NFL Radio show a week ago, was taken back by the Winfield deal. He called out the contract this morning and the decision by Licht.

“I mean, really?” Weis said in disbelief after laying out Winfield’s contract for listeners.

Other analysts Joe heard this week have leaned into the NFL trend of not paying safeties, which was a big subject during free agency this year when the “depressed” market for safeties was called out publicly.

It’s a reason, Joe is confident, why the Bucs were able to get Jordan Whitehead back this year for such a reasonable price.

Regardless, Joe will repeat being OK with the Bucs maybe overpaying for Winfield. If they did overpay, it wasn’t for a ton of money, and where exactly would the Bucs be without him?

76 Responses to “Contract Critics Chirping At Jason Licht”

  1. zzbuc Says:


    ” If they did overpay, it wasn’t for a ton of money, and where exactly would the Bucs be without him?”

    You wrote the answer right there Joe, I agree I think is slightly over payed, But AW is somebody you want always in your team, because he brings some “other” things like leadership and attitude, that are hard to put a price on….

  2. Letsbucinggo Says:

    21 million a year maybe 1 million too high but thats about it. Winfield is the best safety in the league hands down. I mean he can play free, strong safety and nickel he deserves every penny.

  3. Kgh4life Says:

    Winfield is the outlier, so he deserved that money. Winfield is among the top DBs in the NFL let alone safety. He is the epitome of a game changer.

  4. Baking with Evans Says:

    Overpaying an Alllpro? Says who?!?!

    People forget the salary cap goes up every year. Every year you see the same complain by the media. Every year the money is there to get your players signed.

    Yawn. Is it preseason yet?!


  5. RagingBrisket Says:

    Good signing. Man earned the pay day he got

  6. Ko Kiefer Says:

    This is frankly a bad take. Acquiring and keeping all-pro talent is always a prudent move; you work around it.

    2 seasons from now it’ll look like a steal when he’s the 5th highest paid safety or whatever

  7. Beeej Says:

    He literally won two games for us last year, all by himself

  8. Baking with Evans Says:

    Overpaid? NOT!!

    If anything he is setting a standard to get that kind of money. He earned it.

    In Licht We Trust!!!!

  9. DS Says:

    Nfl talking heads have nothing to talk about lol who cares it ain’t our bag lol

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I dunno what people thought he’d get, but I don’t get how you could assume anything lower than $20m, when Derwin James was at $19m and Minkah Fitzpatrick at $18m.

    James signed that deal when the cap was $208m. $19m = 9.1%
    The cap now is $255m. $21m = 8.2%

    As a % of cap space we got a better deal than the last 2 big safety deals.

  11. David Says:

    I don’t care what position he plays, when you’re making plays all over the field in sacks and deflections and interceptions and forced fumbles and recoveries, etc.. You pay the man.

  12. jimmy Says:

    LOL Charlie Weis. Whenever I hear this guy on the radio, it sounds like he’s about to have either an asthma attack or congestive heart failure.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Winfield isn’t just a safety…..he’s a team leader…….fan favorite……solid character Buc…….
    Sure….maybe we could have squeezed him for a mil or two….but I’d rather have a happy Winfield.

  14. catcard202 Says:

    If overpaying on a new deal to save $7M of 2024 cap makes sense, then it was a great deal…

    But overpaying the S market by a wide $2M/yr margin is not a great financial move for the league owners / FO’s bean counters going & setups stupid money contracts for the position group going forward.

    Joe, the Bucs would have been just fine with Winfield being on the roster in 2024 under a tag. Which at $17M is really in the (inflated) ball park of Winfield’s true value, as only 10 S’s are making over $10.5M aav a yr…But now the Bucs are paying Winfield double that!

    To say the Bucs aren’t paying an Edge top money belies the fact that the Bucs are without a true proven feared week-in week-out pass rush threat. & likely won’t be in position to pay one if they become available, as the Bucs are overpaying WR’s, DB’s and a 50% usage DT now….With a premier LT waiting for his huge money deal, next offseason.

  15. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Winfield is the highest paid DB by average annual value. He’s not the highest paid DB by percentage of cap. When Revis got his deal, he had a much higher cap percentage. When the top corners come up for contract, they will get $25-$30M annually. Just wait for Gardner’s deal. For that matter, consider what the top WRs are making. DBs are way undervalued. Justin Jefferson is about to get $35M a year and the top DB gets $21M. A change is coming.

  16. dls5492 Says:

    The game has passed by these talking heads. JL is ahead of the curve.

  17. Crickett Baker Says:

    Catcard, if we had made Tweeze sit on the tag all year we would not have him on a 4 year (3 more) contract. He would not be happy one bit, either. He predicted he would be the highest paid and he was confident before the 2023 season started. When he has another great year we will be ecstatic he won’t be a free agent. I also don’t see why people continually compare his money to someone else’s. There is really no one like him on other teams. IMO we have one helluva team this year! GO BUCS.
    PS. There is a really funny LFG video with Brady and Gordon Ramsey

  18. SlyPirate Says:

    Player vs Position

    Winfield won the Bucs 3 games last year. His out-of-the-box playmaking won the game. Winfield’s play in the SB locked the game up.

    Do you pay for a position or do you play for wins?

  19. Fred McNeil Says:

    He made some really outstanding plays, but I have to say that’s too much money for a safety. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    Tards gonna tard.

    Winfield Jr. is this generations Ronde Barber, very much on a HOF career path, and right there with Wirfs as the best player on the team.

    The idiots that say you let that guy walk, they’re complete clueless idiots – the kind that didn’t vote for Winfield for the Pro-Bowl and then when they say the ALL-PRO 1st team lineup, they said, oh yeah I forgot about him.

  21. Fred McNeil Says:

    I do see your point SlyPirate.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Fred McNeil Says:
    May 14th, 2024 at 3:04 pm
    He made some really outstanding plays, but I have to say that’s too much money for a safety. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.


    Yeah, what you do is let your future HOF’er walk so you can sign Charlie Garner and Tim Brown. Let me know how that works out, Chucky.

  23. Fred McNeil Says:

    Yeah, Rod, the guy is on a HOF trajectory. Can we afford Wirfs now, though?

  24. cmurda Says:

    There is no other man in the current NFL that would have chased down someone that was easily walking into the end zone and create a touchback…..twice…in the same year. Dude got paid what he should for a TD. Charlie crackhead is wrong on this one.

  25. Fred McNeil Says:

    I didn’t say let him walk. I would let him play on the franchise tag.

  26. fred Says:

    They did NOT overpay that man! Good Job Jason!

  27. Fred McNeil Says:

    Next year we might have to trade Winfield or Wirfs to stay under the cap.

  28. ScottyMack Says:

    Please keep in mind that these are the same idiots that thought the signing of Derrick Carr for $150 million ($100 million guaranteed) was a smart move by the Saints last year and who also think Cousins is going to be worth the $180 million (again, $100 million guaranteed) the Falcons have forked over for him.

    We know what Carr did. I suspect Cousins will do about the same with the Falcons.

  29. Dave Pear Says:

    Have another fried lard sandwich, Charlie.

  30. Saskbucs Says:

    If it was an overpay, it was an overpay of about 2-3 million a year. By year 3 of the deal, the cap will be that much higher and will easily eat the difference. Gotta forget about the S label. Guy was a DPOY candidate. Stats people hadn’t see from a defender in 20 years!

    To those worried about the cap, long term deals help our cap this year and next year and probably the year after. Brady and Jensen off the books next year. If this draft class hits and last years takes the step… we are set up as good as anyone entering 2025. There is probably money sitting there to go buy a high end DE or CB or LB or a couple of them. The Bucs are only trending one way here and it isn’t down! We had the lost decade and are now in the middle of the found (?) (winning) decade.

  31. First Name Greatest Says:

    Only the Bucs would pull a move like this, paying a safety that kind of money is not smart at all.

  32. dbbuc711 Says:

    You absolutely know you messed up when NFL Hall Of Fame HC & GM CharlieWeiss says you did.

  33. Ol' Boy Says:

    He’s good by me

  34. Brian in St Pete Says:

    At the end of the day, who gives a s—- what position a player plays as long as they can prevent the offense from getting from point A to point B? Few do it better than AWJ. He deserves every cent.

  35. Brian in St Pete Says:

    Lord Cornelius, great points. Thanks for bringing the numbers.

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    Fred McNeil Says:
    May 14th, 2024 at 3:14 pm
    I didn’t say let him walk. I would let him play on the franchise tag.


    Literally every day / game you wait, he’s just going to cost more.

    The Bucs should have locked him up the first day they could, they’d have saved millions.

    Same with Wirfs.

    Also they had to do something just to get cap space to sign the rookie class this year.

    Finally, you’re not trading your two young future HOF’ers – where do you get the idea that Wirfs or Winfield would get traded? Those are literally the two players on the team that are completely off the board.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    Saskbucs Says:
    May 14th, 2024 at 3:33 pm
    If it was an overpay, it was an overpay of about 2-3 million a year. By year 3 of the deal, the cap will be that much higher and will easily eat the difference.


    Only issue, really, is that the Bucs didn’t give him a longer deal. They should have tried to get a 6-year deal done so at the end of the deal you have a situation like they had with Evans, where you got one of the best non-rookie contract bargains in the NFL.

  38. stpetebucfan Says:

    Troy Palamalu was a “safety” Except not really. The Steelers moved him all over the field and he could handle all the responsiblities.

    Winfield reminds me of that type player. Too early to make a true comparison with an all time great like T.P. but Winfield is clearly on the same career path.

    He gives Bowles incredible flexibility just like TP did for Cowher.

  39. Bucscoott Says:

    you wanna cry over contracts look what the Lions just paid there Qb! talk about over paid! crazy 🤪

  40. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Overpaid today is a steal in years 3 and 4. Welcome to nfl contracts.

  41. Dave Pear Says:

    All you doichebags who think you know more than Jason and think that Charlie the Hutt, who the game passed by years ago (about the time he eclipsed 350 pounds on the scale)- you should go hang out with him and have a race to fatter .

  42. Buccaneer rick Says:

    If anyone says he got overpaid go look for someone that does he I job for cheaper and see how that works out Ryan Neal still a free agent should be a great bargain smh

  43. Bucnjim Says:

    He’s a great signing for many reasons, but the one not being talked about is the fact he’s one of the faces of the franchise. From a marketing standpoint and an organizational standpoint, this is a fantastic signing.

  44. Mark A Swygert Says:

    The fact that these contracts seem so big to us is because most of us on this site are old-school old farts who can remember when a million a year was big money and only reserved for superstars. The fact that front offices all over the NFL, not just the Bucs, are shelling out the big bucks suggests they have a pretty good idea that the salary cap is going to continue an upward trend for some time to come. Relax. The sky is not falling. And the Bucs will be rising.

  45. Buccaneer rick Says:

    Think we can ask 23 from last year to replace aw3 and save the money yeah right

  46. infomeplease Says:

    The Bucs did the right thing. The reason they dumped Carlron Davis was so they could resign AW. He’s about the only game changer on the defense. And he does that often enough to warrant the salary! I have faith he will earn that fat pay check and then some.

  47. Curse of Gruden Says:

    As long as AW is on #TEAMPOSITIVE!, I’m okay with the contract.

  48. lambchop Says:

    There’s a reason why people like Weiss and even Belicheat are out of the league. The game has passed them by. It’s not the same game when they were in. Keeping your stars and not reinventing the wheel on the cheap is what lures better players and actually building for the future instead of rebuilding and patching things up every single offseason. I mean this will attract players to come here. Watch and see.

  49. lambchop Says:

    It’s a luxury to be cheap when you have players like Tom Brady putting everything on his shoulders and carrying that offense year in and year out. Tom was too team-friendly and that doesn’t happen all the time. If Tom wanted, he could have banked every year after his first two Super Bowls.

  50. Fred McNeil Says:

    Rod, you’ve got 53 players on the team that you have to pay, but I think only the top 51 count. For next year we have Baker at $30 mil, Evans at $26 mil, Via at about $20 mil, Winfield at $21 mil Wirfs is gonna command about $26 mil. That’s about $123 million or half the salary cap for five players. Godwin is gonna want $20 mil. Now you’re at $143 mil for six players. Hainsey and Britt will be free agents in 2025. Do we keep them? Does LVD come back? There’s 45 more guys to pay besides the six I mentioned salaries for.

  51. Brandon Jeff Says:

    Would we be hearing this amount of bitching if it were the Cowboys or Niners who paid him that? I don’t think so! I guarantee that if we weren’t willing to pay him that, there would be several teams courting him for that amount.

  52. pancake block Says:

    The rate at which player salaries are escalating, by year 3, itll probably be considered a bargain

  53. Brandon Jeff Says:

    Would there be this much complaining if it were the Cowboys or Niners that paid him 21mil? I don’t think so! I guarantee if we weren’t willing to pay him that much, there would be several teams courting him for that much or more!

  54. Brandon Jeff Says:

    Sorry about the duplicate. I was in jail on the first post so I rewrote it.

  55. Dave Pear Says:

    Fortunately we have Jason Licht to answer such questions.

  56. drdneast Says:

    Derwin James was paid a whopping two million less a year to sign his contract two years ago. The salary cap has gone way up since then. I didn’t hear anyone throwing bricks at their GM at the time.

  57. Cobraboy Says:

    It sends a signal to other Bucs: perform at a high level and we will take care of you.

    Had Licht let him walk, casuals would have been apoplectic.

    His franchise tag was for more $$$, really.

  58. Saskbucs Says:

    All of you supporting the move, great comments! I agree Rod, but guys just don’t go for that much anymore. They take the health risk (not much risk when making 50 million) and go for 2 big contracts over 8 years instead of 1 for 6 or more. I personally don’t think it’s an over pay for a few reasons. He’s a game changing stud and he won’t be highest paid DB for long.

    I really don’t get the sky is falling no cap space crowd. We potentially free up 40 million next March. That’s a ballpark, I’m not sure how much Brady and Jensen still hurt us this year, but add Godwins 20 million to them and hello edge rusher and CB. I don’t want to lose Godwin but need Evan’s here more and 20 is too much to WR2 on this squad. Need Palmer and McMillan balling and can add a 8 million veteran WR next offseason. The CAP IS FINE!

  59. Haleywould Says:

    He was the single most influential player on a game by game basis on defense and on the team as a whole in reality. The guy had an effect on EVERY game and helped the Bucs win and make the playoffs. To sayhe is overpaid is outrageous. Position “value” doesn’t matter when you have a game changer. No other safety can do what he consistently does!

  60. Fred McNeil Says:

    His franchise tag was a little over $17 mil.

  61. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Owners only have to raise ticket prices on us fans to recoup those exorbitant salaries. Not a problem!

  62. TF Says:

    Wow!!! Let me get this straight, the man just got paid BANK. And guess what, He DID NOT EVEN make the Pro Bowl!!!! That’s fun.

  63. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Fred McNeil Says:
    Next year we might have to trade Winfield or Wirfs to stay under the cap.

    If JL needs to he can restructure there contracts next season to kick the can down the road.

    There is ZERO chance the Bucs would let either one of them leave nor is there any need to trade either one of them.

  64. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    ^^^^^their contracts, not “there contracts” 😉

  65. BucVoyager Says:

    I think he earned an extra 2 mil just for throwing up the deuce in the Super Bowl.

  66. WhatTheBuc Says:

    TF? Are you serious? Is this your 1st year watching football? The pro bowl? You mean the popularity flag football game? AWJ was 1st team all pro. That means he was voted the best player in the league at his position. Keep licking your lollipop and leave the football talk for the grown ups.

  67. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs have their SB tandem of Safeties back, a terrific lineup of DT’s , and if they can get 16 sacks out of YaYa and Braswell, they can go deep in playoffs

  68. Capt.Tim Says:

    Its a sad day for me.
    I think Winfield is the best safety in the game.
    But safeties make less money than everyone but Punters and kickers.
    Thats because they arent involved in many plays.
    They are usually only innvolved in a play if
    A) they are double covering a WR, along with the CB- and the QB throws there
    Anyway. And QBs usually dont throw in to double coverage.
    B) the WR gets away from the CB, and the Safety was again adding extra coverage.
    C) the running back gets thru the Line and linebackers.

    Thats just not enough plays, to invest a third of your defensive payroll in to that position.
    How do we pay a top DE? Top CB? Those are positions that are frequently involved in almost every play.

    I know that Winfield does a ton more for us. He blitzes the QB. He is strong in run defense.
    But at the safety position- he just doesnt get to affect the offense like an edge rusher or a shut down CB.
    And we are gonna need to pay those guys soon. Wont have the money- its tied up in safety.

    Every preseason, teams overpay the best safeties.
    Every off season, the best safeties get cut, because teams need that money for critical positions. Safety aint a critical position.

    When I saw the contract that we signed Winfeild to, it made me sad. Because I know we cant afford to pay that kinda money to a safety, and have a competitive defense.
    Like so many other great Safeties, that contract means we will have to cut Winfield in a year or two.
    The guaranteed money means we wont be able to sign a good edge rusher for years to come.

  69. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    You know, although they may have overpaid a bit for Antoine Winfield, he does seem like a sure thing. He doesn’t get hardly any interceptions, but he produces in every other way.

    Last year was his best year. 6 sacks? First time getting 3 picks?

    Honestly, I think he is a cross between John Lynch and Ronde Barber.

    He seems to be developing and improving every year. This is going to be fun to watch!

  70. Larrd Says:

    As long as he stays healthy he’s well worth it. Having a QB on a somewhat reasonable deal helps, too.

    I thought he played great at nickle in 2022 and they moved him back to keep him healthy.

  71. Temple Terrace Buc Says:

    Great signing! Shows team and fan base your commitment to winning.

    And will have the highest paid left tackle in the league eventually.

    Go Bucs

  72. bucsfaninva Says:

    Not only has Winfield EARNED that $$$ (and good for him!), but methinks those other managers (and pundits) doth protest too much. Perhaps because now the onus will be on them to pay correspondingly. Difference is…to me anyway, Winfield truly was a game wrecker…and someone who not only is a leader, but who single handedly can (and DID) change the course of games. So tired of hearing the “so called” pundits talking garbage and out their pie holes. It’s not only disrespectful to Tampa, but personally to Winfield (and Licht). I am glad we are putting the screws to all the other teams by paying him. He’s earned it, and they should find something useful to whine about. Not like they are going to change the contract because it might offend someone. Shaking my head here… GO BUCS! (ok, rant complete, back to my coffee) 🙂

  73. BakerBucs says duh Says:

    Is anybody as sick of stpetebucsfan&rod munchkin post as I am real know it alls writing a book on a post site get over u r selves

  74. Big Red Says:

    I’d rather pay Winfield 30 million than Baker 30 million…. go bucs.

  75. Booger Says:

    @Fred McNeil

    “His Franchise Tag Was A Little Over $17M.” Yeah, and then what, Fred… LOSE HIM to FA the very next season!? Get out, Man! You’re NOT letting Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu WALK. And, Wirfs is getting $30M+ per year… The longer we wait the more it’s going to be. $26M is an INSULT. Know the market. And, there is no way we’re giving Godwin $20M+ for his next contract, unless he remains healthy, and has a career year. Mike Evans contract was an extremely, ‘team friendly’ deal and is only for two seasons… It’s NOT FOREVER. So is Deans. It’s not a ‘lifetime’ contract. And, there are LOTS of “smoke & mirrors” with these contracts… Evans was what $35Mil GUARANTEED!? I’ve heard that it’s a lot more closer to $21 base with lots of incentives, Etc. The cap keeps going Upppp-Up-UP every season… And, we have a lot more dead $ coming off the books soon, too. So, don’t act like THIS DEAL has cap strapped us and has destroyed us moving forward. It was what $45M guaranteed!? We got our QB on another ‘team friendly’ deal at basically $25-$33MIL per and can walk away from it almost completely free after just TWO seasons. Detroit just PAID $53MIL for theirs AND another $30MIL for THEIR #1-WR. What about Dak… What about ATL. We’re saving a TON of money at QB vs these other teams. What about Philly… They are PAYING TOP $$$$ at Running Back, QB, AND BOTH Wide Receivers. $50MIL+ for Hurts. $30MIL+ for Brown. $25MIL for DeVonte Smith. So, Please. CHILL.

  76. Capt.Tim Says:

    Big Red.
    So youd rather pay a safety, who is rarely involved in the play- then our All pro QB,
    You dont really know anything about football, do you?


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