What About Next Year’s Free Agents?

May 27th, 2024

Free agent in 2025.

With the exception of Shaq Barrett, who may be done, and selfish Devin White, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht cleaned up with his free agent class.

However, Matt Verderame of SI.com wonders if Licht will use the same approach next spring.

Biggest decision: Which priority free agents are going to be kept?

This offseason saw the Buccaneers retain Mike Evans, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Baker Mayfield on big-money deals. The question now is whether GM Jason Licht goes the same route next offseason, with OT Tristan Wirfs, WR Chris Godwin, LB Lavonte David and others slated for free agency. Suffice to say, not all will be back in Tampa for 2025.

Well, Wirfs isn’t going anywhere, that’s all there is to it. Lavonte David? If David wants to play, he’s got a job with the Bucs. David has said (multiple times) he doesn’t want to play anywhere else.

And practically speaking, the Bucs can’t afford to let David walk — if he plans to play next year. The Bucs are terribly thin at inside linebacker.

Chris Godwin is the wild card. Joe expects Godwin to have another excellent season by moving back to slot receiver. But if the Bucs, as is the wishes of head coach Todd Bowles, are going to become a run-first team, it’s hard to see how Team Glazer will be cool with spending over $40 million for two receivers.

It would be different if the Bucs had a throw-it-first offense like they did under Bucco Bruce Arians and Dirk Koetter.

So of those three free agents Verderame mentioned, Joe is confident about two and not so confident about Godwin.

18 Responses to “What About Next Year’s Free Agents?”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I’d really hate to see CG go but yeah, we can’t pay that much for 2 WRs.
    I’d also be surprised if LVD makes it past this year. Physically I think he can unless injured but it just seems like his interest is waning a bit.

  2. Derek Says:

    Godwin will want 25- $30M per year if he has a good year


    1st of all, you don’t go from a successful passing team to a running teaming this day & age.,not with BAKER MAYFIELD as your quarterback. we just want to run successfully when we do run to keep the defense honest & off guard, if Chris Godwin goes off & tears it up in the slot again & we advance to championship game or super bowl, I can see him getting a 3 yr extension ( provided it’s not above Mike’s numbers ) alot may depend on the play of TREY PALMER & Jalen McMillan..

  4. garro Says:

    Besides the King Goodell rules making and basicaly all around arrogant asshat. The #1 thing that bugs me about the NFL is the fact that teams regularly are forced to trade, give away, or cut good/great players! This is due to salary cap constraints. Yes I understand why we have the cap but it really frustrates me to no end!

    If we end up losing Godwin because of the cap I am going to lose my freaking mind!

    You give a big contract to Baker and then trade or cut one of his big weapons? That sounds more like a Culverhouse move to me! Otten? Come on man. Palmer? No dice. White? Geez! Right now we got nada behind CG!

    BTW you do not give up All pro receivers because a coach who may be gone as well wants to play to his under-performing defense…ridiculous! We also have plenty of draft capital and cap invested in Bowles defense. Diva is already gone and JTS will likely follow. Next up?

    LVD is no sure thing if the price is too high or he retires.

    Go Bucs!

  5. Maddog Says:

    Fantastic Buccaneer, excellent role model for the younger guys to look up too just like Mike, but with another good draft and possibly a older reliable free agent we’ll be fine and Chris can get what he deserves. He should be a Buc for life

  6. heyjude Says:

    Agreed, Godwin should be a Buc for life, just like Evans. Wirfs contract could be renewed after mandatory mini-camps and before the season begins. Other teams do want him and are waiting for the decision too. Next year Lamb, Stefon Diggs, Jefferson, Hainsey, Mack, Lavonte, and so many others will be free agents.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘But if the Bucs, as is the wishes of head coach Todd Bowles, are going to become a run-first team, it’s hard to see how Team Glazer will be cool with spending over $40 million for two receivers.’

    I think there’s a faulty assumption in there Joe that’s driving the bottom line: Bowles isn’t striving for a RUN-FIRST TEAM. No question though that he wants an offensive attack that’s more BALANCED, with both the run & the pass being more effective (and no, balanced does not mean equal).

    The Bucs ran it on 42% of our plays last season, pretty much the same as what his teams averaged in New York. Also a tad lower than what teams using a similar offense (the Rams ran it on 43.6% of their plays last year) have been running it. Our problem has been that our running game sucked these past 2 years (3.4 YPC?) and we need to improve THAT aspect. We’ve taken several good steps to do just that I think; hopefully it pays off this season. And in terms of Godwin, love him dearly but it’s hard to justify paying a slot receiver $30 mil a year, and 2 receivers over $55 mil a year.

  8. Bucnation Says:

    It’s not our money so pay the man!

  9. Dave Pear Says:

    Jason knows. He’ll do the right thing. And if Todd doesn’t win at least 9 games with this roster, he’ll be starting his post NFL career as a UPS franchise owner.

    Would love to see who Jason would actually select to replace BA, instead of having the decision forced on him.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Although I love Chris Godwin, sometimes you have to draft a replacement for big money…..WR2 will be available in round 1 or 2 in next year’s draft.
    I would like to see us pick up a quality TE & perhaps another edge rusher. ILB would be a good addition also.

    When you have an opportunity to save $25 mil….you should take it.

  11. Leighroy Says:

    The Bucs have been paying both since 2021. Why can’t that continue? There is no heir apparent on the roster (yet), and it’s not like free agent WR’s of Godwin’s caliber will be any cheaper. Choosing not to resign Godwin is choosing to be a less talented team.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucnation … ‘It’s not our money so pay the man!’

    I know from past comments that lots of JBFers share that viewpoint, but the salary CAP is a fact of life and represents a ‘budget’ not dissimilar from your household budget. It’s relatively easy to go several years ‘kicking the can down the street’ (like putting purchases that you can’t pay for today on your credit card?), but eventually it catches up to you and you have to find a way to balance the budget once again.

    Paying big-name, high-production stars is part of the game IMO, and I’m very thankful that we’ve got guys like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tristan Wirfs, LVD, Vita Vea, etc on our roster. Without them we’d be back to our losing ways. But there’s obviously a limit to how many high-$$$ superstars any team can afford.

    Bucs currently have 6 players making $18 mil or over, representing almost $131 mil of wages (not including incentives which we’ll be liable for). Our 53-man roster costs us $225 mil in salaries according to Spotrac, so we’re paying almost 60% to 6 players. We can afford that right now because (1) we’ve drafted well and (2) we’ve developed our youngsters well & they’re producing on the field.

    Still, JL’s walking a tightrope to keep the salary CAP in limits, and doing a great job IMO. Lots of pressure also on Todd Bowles & his coaches to get so many younger players ready to be competitive in today’s NFL, and far as I’m concerned they’re doing an excellent job of that also.

  13. Buctank Says:

    This talk is very silly. The Bucs really have minimal free agents next year and have significant cap space starting next and can bring all 3 back and sign good free agents

    The real question is what will the saints do sitting 110 million over the cap next year

  14. catcard202 Says:

    Bucs have 38 players on expiring contracts or 1yr deals…And a little over $25M in Dead Money Void Year coin coming due.

    IE…Expect significant roster rollover at One Bucs Place for 2025.

  15. Buca Dawg Says:

    If C.G. 14 has a real strongseason in the slot just do as BucNation says, he’s absolutely on point PAY THE MAN!!!!

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    Buca Dawg….with the cap it’s not that simple.

  17. Fred McNeil Says:

    DR, I enjoyed reading your reply to Bucnation. That’s a song I sing constantly. I’ve worried too that we have half our cap going to six guys. That’s why I wasn’t happy with the Winfield deal. I took a lot of flak for that, but if you convince your superstars to take just a little less you can buy better supporting cast to go with them. Tom Brady was a great example of that. If he demanded what his market was worth he wouldn’t have so many rings.

  18. westernbuc Says:

    The best running team in the league has two stud wide receivers and a top-end tight end