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March 15, 2013 @ 8:00 pm
Current rating: 3.67 Stars/3 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 3-15

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Who are the highest-paid players in Tampa Bay this year? Which Bucs are overpaid and which ones are underpaid? How many Pewter Pirates are under contract in 2014? What are two ways that FS Dashon Goldson can help the Bucs? Get the answers and insight in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. We’ve written a lot about new Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson this week, and if you are looking for more analysis on this acquisition by the Buccaneers I’ll have that at the end of this edition of SR’s Fab 5. If you didn’t read my PR Analysis piece on how Goldson fits in with the Buccaneers, I’ll redirect you here.

I’ll also note that good friend and colleague, Pat Yasinskas, has a great breakdown on Goldson’s contract on his NFC South Blog for ESPN.com. You can read that by clicking here.

If you are looking for my insight and analysis on why defensive end Michael Bennett left the Buccaneers, you’ll find it here and I’ll refrain from repeating myself in this SR’s Fab 5.

Late Friday evening, PewterReport.com learned from a source with inside knowledge that the the trade for Jets cornerback Darelle Revis could happen sooner rather than later. The source told PewterReport.com that the Bucs, despite the backlash of fans wondering what is going on free agency-wise, in fact have a plan, and that No. 24 is a big part of it. The source didn't divulge specifics but said, "There is so much smoke my eyes are burning," a reference to the cliché, where there is smoke there is fire. The source did say that even if it doesn't happen on Saturday when Revis is owed a $1 million roster bonus that the talks and details could be worked out at the owners meetings that begin Sunday.

Earlier in the week, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported that it’s all about compensation right now, and he was told the parameters of the financial terms of Revis' new contract have been worked out. The Jets want more – specifically Tampa Bay’s 13th overall pick in the 2013 draft – than the Bucs are willing to give. The deal will either happen or not happen due to compensation.

So let’s dive into some uncharted territory with regards to the Buccaneers, shall we?

Because the Buccaneers have not spent a ton of money in free agency over the past couple offseasons and have begun to draft better in recent years, the team had a plethora of salary cap room entering free agency – over $30 million in fact. As a result, the Bucs only have 18 players out of the 67 on their current roster that make $1 million or more. That number could be more, depending on how much new linebacker Jonathan Casillas and wide receiver Kevin Olgetree were signed for.

Here’s the current list of millionaire Buccaneers:

Highest Paid Bucs In Base Salary (Unless Otherwise Noted)
1. FS Dashon Goldson – $9,000,000 (includes a $4.5 million roster bonus)
2. QB Josh Freeman – $8,430,000 (includes a $3.15 million roster bonus)
3. DT Gerald McCoy – $8,321,250
4. RG Davin Joseph – $6,000,000
5. LT Donald Penn – $6,000,000
6. C Jeremy Zuttah – $4,125,000 (includes a $500,000 roster bonus)
7. P Michael Koenen – $3,250,000
8. K Connor Barth – $2,300,000
9. RT Demar Dotson – $2,000,000
10. QB Dan Orlovsky – $1,500,000
11. C-G Ted Larsen $1,323,000
12. DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim $1,320,000
13. LB Adam Hayward – $1,257,000
14. RB LeGarrette Blount – $1,250,000
15. SS Cody Grimm $1,200,000
16. SS Mark Barron $1,047,568
17. DE Adrian Clayborn $1,121,378
18. FB Erik Lorig $1,000,000
19. DT Gary Gibson $1,000,000

What’s interesting to note is that the Bucs only have nine players that will make over $2 million in 2013. That allows the team the salary cap room to make a move like trade for New York cornerback Darrelle Revis – a deal that may go down on Friday night.

Goldson, the team’s most recent big money addition, is currently the highest-paid Buccaneer in 2013. If you are wondering where Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks are after signing multi-year deals for multi-millions in 2012, they restructured their contracts last December to help Tampa Bay’s 2013 salary cap situation.

Jackson signed a five-year, $55.5-million contract, but had his $13 million salary reallocated into the back end of his deal and will now make $840,000 in base salary in 2013. His salary will rise to $10 million in 2014.

Nicks was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 thanks to a five-year, $47.5-million contract he signed last offseason. Nicks’ 2013 salary was reallocated like Jackson’s was, and he will now earn $715,000 Nicks this season.

Speaking of Tampa Bay’s starting offensive linemen, their salaries see a dramatic increase in 2014. While Zuttah’s 2014 earnings will dip slightly from 2013 where he will make $4.125 million ($3.675 million in base salary in addition to a $500,000 roster bonus), and Joseph sees no increase from his $6 million salary in 2014, Penn’s salary escalates from $6 million to $7.4 million. However, the biggest increase occurs with Nicks, who is making only $715,000 in 2013 due to a contract restructure, but sees his 2014 base salary climb to $7 million.

In just those four positions alone, that’s an increase of $8.125 million, and those four Buccaneers starting offensive linemen are scheduled to make $24.4 million in base salaries in 2014. And that’s not even including the salary of a right tackle, which figures to be between $600,000 to $3 million in 2014 depending on whether it’s a rookie starting or if it’s Dotson getting re-signed.

With the 2014 salary cap not set to increase much more than this year’s amount of $123 million, Tampa Bay will have approximately one-fifth of its total cap number tied up in the offensive line. That’s something to keep in mind and something that general manager Mark Dominik is undoubtedly thinking about in 2014 as he is spending money in 2013.

FAB 2. In the spirit of free agency, let’s continue talking about salaries. Every team has players that over-perform regarding their contract, and the Buccaneers are no different. With two of the team’s best players being rookies Lavonte David, who was Pewter Report’s 2012 Bucs MVP, and Doug Martin, who was Pewter Report’s 2012 Offensive MVP, it’s no surprise that some of the team’s best talent comes on the cheap.

Of course that’s the way NFL teams love it. Rookies come cheap, especially thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which has a rookie salary cap.

Tampa Bay’s All-Underpaid Team consists of some pretty talented players that actually out-perform some of the backup players within their own personnel units, such as starter Mike Williams, who is scheduled to earn $630,000 in the final year of his rookie contract in 2013, while backup Tiquan Underwood will make $715,000 because he’s been in the league a season longer.

Here are the members of Tampa Bay’s All-Underpaid Team, according to Pewter Report:

1. WR Mike Williams – $630,000 base salary in 2013
In three seasons, Williams has caught 193 passes for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has posted two seasons with nearly 1,000 yards receiving, including a franchise-record 11 touchdowns in 2010 as a rookie. Williams deserves a multi-million dollar extension before he hits the free agent market in 2014.

2. LB Lavonte David – $547,806 base salary in 2013 
David made an instant impact as a rookie, leading the team in tackles with 139 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception last year. The second-round pick will be making less than $1 million for the next couple of seasons in Tampa Bay and will be quite a bargain.

3. RB Doug Martin – $698,524 base salary in 2013
Martin rushed for a Bucs’ rookie record 1,454 yards and a franchise-record 11 touchdowns last season. He also caught 49 passes for 472 yards and one score. Martin has already made the Pro Bowl, and will be a steal financially for Tampa Bay for years to come.

4. LB Mason Foster – $628,124 base salary in 2013
Foster has his detractors, but at less than three quarters of a million dollars, he’s a bargain for a starting NFL middle linebacker. Foster has 189 tackles in his Tampa Bay career, and has made a handful of splash plays over his two-year NFL career, including four sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

5. DE Da’Quan Bowers – $725,512 base salary in 2013
Bucs general manager Mark Dominik believes that Bowers, a second-round pick in 2011, can start at left defensive end and replace free agent Michael Bennett. As a backup, Bowers has recorded 4.5 sacks in 26 games. As a starting pass rusher in the NFL, Bowers comes cheap with less than three quarters of a million dollars.

Every NFL team has both underpaid players and overpaid players. While the Bucs have done a good job of ridding the roster of high-priced, less-producing talent in recent years, a few of those types of players remain.

Here are the members of Tampa Bay’s All-Overpaid Team, according to Pewter Report:

1. CB Eric Wright – $7,750,000 base salary in 2013
Wright was suspended four games due to PED (performance-enhancing drug) use, missed a couple of others due to an Achilles injury and only picked off one pass and forced one fumble. Wright didn’t come close to earning his paycheck last year and the Bucs want to cut him.

2. SS Cody Grimm – $1,200,000 base salary in 2013
Grimm’s star has fallen at One Buccaneer Place. Once a starter, Grimm is now a third-string safety and has been relegated to special teams. He’s not a favorite of the coaching staff, so don’t be surprised if Grimm is released prior to training camp if the team needs some more salary cap space.

3. RB LeGarrette Blount – $1,250,000 base salary in 2013
Blount was essentially re-signed to be traded, but if he sticks, he will make twice as much money as starter Doug Martin will. Blount was phased out of Tampa Bay’s offense last year, so if there are no takers on the trade market, the Bucs may end up cutting him.

4. C-G Ted Larsen – $1,323,000 base salary in 2013
Larsen is a decent backup that can play center or guard, and is better as a reserve than a starter. Because he can play multiple positions, Larsen isn’t extremely overpaid. However, there is a chance that he can end up making more money than the team’s starting right tackle in 2014 if he’s still on the roster.

Linebacker Quincy Black originally made this list due to his $5.5 million base salary before he was released on Thursday. Unfortunately, Black’s NFL future is in jeopardy as he recovers from serious nerve damage, but even when healthy he was not worth $5.5 million. That would have made him the sixth-highest paid Buccaneer on the team. Black typically comes off the field in nickel and dime defensive packages, and that’s an awful lot of money for a part-time player.

FAB 3. A close look at Tampa Bay’s roster also shows the Bucs currently only have 40 players under contract in 2014. Of those players, cornerback Eric Wright will likely be cap casualty this year. Wright has not come close to earning his $7.75 million salary, and lost his grievance against the Buccaneers over whether his 2013 salary was guaranteed or not. Either Michael Koenen or Chas Henry won’t be around next year, as Tampa Bay won’t keep two punters.

Defensive backs like Sean Baker, Nick Saenz and James Rogers are likely training camp competition and aren’t locks to make the team in 2013 – let alone be around in 2014. The same could be said of quarterback Adam Weber, tight ends Drake Dunsmore and Danny Noble, wide receiver David Douglas, offensive linemen Mike Remmers and Desmond Wynn, defensive linemen Ernest Owusu, Richard Clebert and Matt Masifilo and linebacker Joe Holland. That’s 13 more players out of the 40, in addition to Wright and either Koenen or Henry, that won’t be under contract in Tampa Bay in 2014.

So that means there are 25 players on the current active roster that have a real, legitimate chance to be under contract in 2014. The Bucs will likely sign five-seven more free agents to long-term contracts, and there is a chance that the eight players the Bucs will draft in 2013 will stick.

That means the Bucs will enter the 2013 season with about 38 players realistically under contract next year unless the Bucs get to work on some contract extensions. Remember that it takes 53 to actually field a team.

Tampa Bay has a whopping 24 players that are in a contract year in 2013. Here’s the list:

Contract Year Buccaneers
QB Josh Freeman
QB Dan Orlovsky
RB LeGarrette Blount
RB D.J. Ware
FB Erik Lorig
WR Mike Williams
WR Tiquan Underwood
WR Chris Owusu
TE Nate Byham
TE Zach Miller
OT Demar Dotson
G-T Jamon Meredith
G Roger Allen
C Ted Larsen
OT Derek Hardman
G-C Cody Wallace
DT Gary Gibson
DT Corvey Irvin
DE Aaron Morgan
DE Markus White
LB Adam Hayward
LB Dekoda Watson
CB Myron Lewis
CB Danny Gorrer
SS Cody Grimm

To say that general manager Mark Dominik and coordinator of football administration Mike Greenberg, who serves as the team’s capologist, have a lot of work to do to between now and the start of the 2014 season.

FAB 4. In a division that features a plethora of gifted tight ends, such as Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham and David Thomas, in addition to Carolina’s Greg Olsen, the Bucs need stellar play from the safety position. The addition of free agent free safety Dashon Goldson gives the Bucs another solid defender in coverage that can match up well against the NFC South’s tight ends.

Here’s a look at how those tight ends fared against Tampa Bay in 2012:

Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez
10 catches for 103 yards

Carolina TE Greg Olsen
Eight catches for 98 yards

New Orleans TE Jimmy Graham (one game)
Five catches for 69 yards

New Orleans TE David Thomas
Four catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns

Because Goldson and Mark Barron have similar builds and skills, head coach Greg Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan can interchange the two between the free safety and strong safety spots and mix things up in coverage. Both Goldson and Barron are big, fast and physical enough to defend the seams of Tampa Bay’s defense.

FAB 5. Here are some things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• In 2013, the Buccaneers won’t have any linebackers or wide receivers making a base salary of $1 million or more. Those two units, along with the tight end corps, are the cheapest in Tampa Bay. What about Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who signed a five-year, $55.5 million deal in 2012? Jackson restructured his contract late last season to help the Bucs create some salary cap room, and reduced his 2013 base salary to $840,000. But that cheap salary is short-lived as Jackson’s base increases to $10 million in 2014.

• Bucs head coach Greg Schiano likes to blitz his safeties, and Dashon Goldson is a good fit in those schemes. With three career sacks, including two in 2010, Goldson is an above-average blitzer. The Bucs tried unsuccessfully to blitz its safeties last year, and only Barber produced a sack with Mark Barron and Ahmad Black going sack-less during their blitz attempts.

• Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be the most expensive player in Tampa Bay next year. He’s set to earn a base salary of $10,295,000 in what will be the final year of his contract. With a $10 million base salary coming his way next year, Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson is currently scheduled to be the team’s second-highest paid Buccaneer in 2014. Unless of course the Bucs re-sign quarterback Josh Freeman or trade for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis and extend his contract.

• If you are a fan of Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber and missed my last SR’s Fab 5, here’s the link. It’s a must-read if you feel that Barber, who could be re-signed as a cornerback or a safety in 2013, should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Check it out, and keep checking out PewterReport.com as free agency rolls on.

Last modified on Friday, 15 March 2013 21:03

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  • avatar

    Regardless of all the busy 2013 pending-year contract work for Mr Dominik and Mr. Greenberg ; if you look at this list, there really is not anyone on it I would say is a big sweat to renegotiate or replace in free agency, except for Freeman(depending how his 2013 season goes) and Mike Williams, who I think already has a deal in place. All the rest appear very 7-9 replaceable or overpaid. What it pointed out to me though, was the importance of focusing more on the offensive line in this upcoming 2013 draft more than I thought we needed to, so we have some younger cheaper options for leverage in 2014 and 2015 when all these contracts start to escalate on our offensive side of the ball. We look as though we could immediately need to start developing some youth at all five O-Line positions if you look at our current O-line starters and their bloated contracts. Good thing is, this draft appears to be pretty deep across the O-Line. Hopefully, we get a couple of good ones after we grab our top Corner or top DE. I would not be upset if we had to grab a Fluker or Womack at the top of the draft if our guys we want are not there.
  • avatar

    How much cap room can teams carry over from one year to the next?
  • avatar

    I just hope that Dominik is better at controlling the cap than Rich McKay. He really got the Bucs in Salary Cap hell for sure. I know that Dominik is being conservative because he knows that there are 24 players due for resigning next year. I think he put way too much hope in the Revis deal. I hope I am wrong on this one. Do not blame PR for the Bucs inactivity in FA.
  • avatar

    helpful article. really highlights just how soft our roster is and the challenges we face next yr. gotta say - mccoy $8 mm this yr and $10 mm next? bussssst from a return on investment perspective, even forgetting where he was drafted. freeman had better make a very significant jump in terms of actually playing the qb position, instead of 'force-ball', or we will be stuck in 'just missed the playoffs hell' and dom-hickey & associates will be looking for work elsewhere.
  • avatar

    Maybe I'm not so good at math, but after reaading the article, it appears the Bucs are in for salary cap hell in 2014...having to try to resign all the players who are currently in their last contract year & asking for a premium next year...especially if they add Revis to the mix.
  • avatar

    I liked the article Mark - thanks. I have been looking for some views into our potential cap trouble - I could smell it coming if we signed Revis to big bucks, so thanks for spelling it out. I m really worried that Dom is trying to do something that is out of his league because this is the final yr of his contract...
  • avatar

    What I really want to see is the cap numbers for next year. By converting Jackson and Nicks's salary into a bonus it spreads the rest of it throughout the contract. Theyve gotta have $15million cap charges next year, signing Revis will sink the franchise imo.
  • avatar

    How about working to get a three in exchange for our #1. Then we'd have a 2, two threes and 2 fours to play with.
  • avatar

    Scott, I have to tell you that I thought your article was very insightful & interesting. Keep up the good work.
  • avatar

    PR... I liked this article as it makes everyone aware of the salary problems that face a team in the NFL. IMO for the Buc's to trade for Revis is not a smart move. If the Jets want our 13th this year that leaves us at no shot at a DT. If we give the Jets our 1st next year and Freeman fails this year we have no #1 to get a QB next year. I think even if they get Revis we still loose. We missed the boat this year unless they have already made up their minds that Freeman is going to be signed next year even if he has a bad year. PASS ON REVIS !
  • avatar

    I enjoyed the article. I never would have thought that C. Grimm would be making that much after coming in as a 7th round draft pick. Of course, I remember it did take him forever to sign his rookie contract so I guess his agent knew what he was doing. Unless I missed it I would liked to have seen how much total cap space we have as of today. That would give me a better feel for if we really do have enough space to sign both Revs and Grimes, or Revis and a RT like A. Smith or Vollimer.
  • avatar

    He's not even here yet and already I dread having an overpaid cornerback who's getting ready to sign his last big contract. Revis won't be able to stop Brees or Ryan as they have a stable of great pass catchers.
  • avatar

    PewterReportMC - Maybe I was a little harsh in my commenting, it is an interesting write up however it is not a "Can't Miss Article" as it was advertised by PR on the boards yesterday. I do appreciate your guys hardwork at PR!
  • avatar

    If the Bucs really want Revis, I hope they don't give away to many draft picks. Money is one thing, but giving up future high draft picks weakens a team in the long run. The way I see it not to many teams have the cap space to pull off this trade, and the Jets are so up against the cap that any team taking Revis would be doing them a favor. Let's not forget the Jets had the # 2 pass D without Revis in the line up. I don't see where we have to rush into this.
  • avatar

    Thanks SR! Good info.
  • avatar

    Thank you, Scott, for being the first to write an article on this subject. I've been telling every Bucs fan whose ear I can get ahold of that we don't, in effect, have the cap space that it looks like we have. Yes, there are about $40 million unspent out there right now, but a lot of that is going to be taken up by resignings for a ton of guys coming up right around the corner, not to mention the growth of current contract numbers as well. People need to stop acting like we don't have a limit for good reasons. This is why it would have been pretty dumb of us to go out and sign 2 FA starting CBs when the market was stuffed full of predominantly mediocre players. I, personally, am GLAD to be a fan of a team that approaches the future with something to say other than, "Aww shucks, we'll worry about 2015 in 2015!!!!"
  • avatar

    I understand where you guy's are coming from.He might have been told not to say much more.He has bosses to just saying.
  • avatar

    *Sean Smith
  • avatar

    If we’re not going to go deep in FA and rely solely on the draft to get key personnel, we will get several talented guys that will need a year so to learn how to play NFL football. Here’s where I think Jon Gruden made a lot of sense. If you want to get to the playoffs, you’re going to need some experience. Gruden just took the concept a little too far at times. Karlos Dansby 6-4, 250 played as good as any MLB in the league last year. He had 134 tackles with 101 solo in 2012 with 31.5 career sacks. He is 30, but won’t be 31 until November and can still play at a high level. I would bring in Dansby on a 1 year contract and move Foster to SLB. Kerry Rhodes 6-3, 210 is another 30 year old that is a big FS that arguably had the best season of his career last year. Rhodes is an experienced version of Sean that can actually cover. He is a fierce tackler that had 67 tackles and 4 INTs and has played in a SB before. Rhodes is a Schiano type of player – I would offer Rhodes a 1 year contract also.These guys were not released because they couldn’t play – they just got too expensive to keep. We have the checkbook to get talented experienced guys who know how to win and can bring our young players along with them! Atlanta just signed Steven Jackson (30) and the Pats just signed Adrian Wilson (33) - two playoffs teams trying to win now. We need to try to win now too!
  • avatar

    Dont blame them...there is not much to write about right now...jeez
  • avatar

    SR's Fab 5 isn't for Breaking Stories, it's for insight into what's going on with the team and othe FYI stuff. This one was an in depth look into the salary cap for 2013 & 2014. If salary cap numbers isn't your thing, then I can see why you're not satisfied with the article. Why didn't PR put up a Free Agent Tracker on the Insider Page like they did last year?
  • avatar

    Interesting stuff Scott, but doesn't beginto address what the Bucs FA plan is all about.
  • avatar

    Agreed VT! There was nothing breaking about the article
  • avatar

    Seriously, you guys announce that a don't miss SR Fab 5 this afternoon should not be missed, letting all us fans who were hoping for BIG news and you let us down with this news??????? So tired of the let downs within the PR reporting!!!!
  • avatar

    VTBucs I am going to defend SR here. First of all I am sorry you feel you are let down by PR reporting. But the amount of hours that go into the research for a story like this is mind boggling. This is all original content. Who else breaks down rosters and salaries in the local media in this detail? No one...It takes a tremendous amount of time all the while in the middle of the busiest week of the year in a sense.. And the info on Revis with the inside scoop was breaking news. Again I am sorry if you are let down, and I mean this respectfully, but if you arent happy with the content email me your address and I will refund your insider membership out my own pocket. Yeah I am biased, but to me, an insider membership for 10 bucks a year (0.83 cents per month) is a hell of a value. I understand their is a tremendous amount of frustration with the lack of signings but we can't control that.
  • avatar

    You're whining a bit like a child, VT. Don't make anymore of an a$$ of yourself than you already have. If this in depth look at the salary cap future of this team doesn't interest you and teach you something, just focus on reading AP reports about personnel decisions and leave the higher level analysis to other fans and the talented, hard-working staff of PR. Mark was far more judicious with his comments than I'm being, but your comment leads me to think that you're a total dbag. I hope you keep paying for Insider for the sake of the site, but man, quit hating so much on guys who work so hard for you and me and everyone else out there.
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