According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Bucs RG Alex Cappa is leading the way in performance-based pay for NFL players this past season, nearly matching his base salary with the extra compensation.

Cappa started all 16 games of the Bucs 11-5 regular season, locking down the right guard spot across from star left guard Ali Marpet. The Bucs former third round pick was one of the more underrated players in the NFL, playing every offensive snap for the team during the 2021 regular season. Cappa showed critical growth as a run blocker, but most importantly was excellent in pass protection, surrendering 29 pressures while giving up zero sacks.

Unfortunately for Cappa, he was injured about halfway through the Bucs Wild Card playoff game against Washington in early January, breaking his ankle. With their right guard sidelined, Tampa Bay turned to career reserve Aaron Stinnie, who held his own through three playoff games on the way to a Super Bowl title. Stinnie returns to the Bucs this season on a one-year deal, giving them some much-needed depth behind Marpet and Cappa.

Cappa is currently slated to make $2.1 million this season in a contract year. If the Bucs fourth-year guard can put together another fine campaign, he’ll likely set himself up to be one of the top offensive linemen on the market in free agency in 2022.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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Bradenton BucFan
3 months ago

Impressive. Maybe top 5 most improved players last year. Run it back Cappa

Spitfire
3 months ago

I think we see now that Cappa’s stunted early growth was probably due to playing next to Dotson. Dot was a great guy and a great story but was not a strong RT and Cappa trying to learn with little help to his right was abhorrent. Now he’s next to someone solid in Wirfs and He shines as well as Wirfs shining because of Cappas help as well. I’d hate to see him go next year if they can’t keep him. We will see I guess. Great thing is we maintain one of the strongest Olines in football for another… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Cappa was TERRIBLE as a rookie. We saw very limited snaps from him that year, but he was getting whipped by the guy across from him virtually every play he was on the field. Which is okay – he was a 3rd rounder rather than a 1st for a reason. The transition in level of competition from D2 to the NFL is massive, and he needed time. Dotson was one of the best RT’s in football for most of his career. But by Cappa’s 2nd year, yes, he was definitely not the player he had once been. Overall, I think… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by toofamiliar17
drdneast
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Backfill with cheap labor? We tried that for a few years after Mankins retired and it didn’t work out to well. I can only thank god you are NOT a Buc decision maker.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  drdneast
3 months ago

Cheap labor like….Cappa? lmao Solid guards in the early mid rounds of the draft (2-4) are very available. If you look at starters across the league, the vast majority of them were taken with less than premium picks. Successful teams can’t pay everyone. You literally just can’t. Tough choices have to be made. We’ll see what Cappa’s contract year looks like. But for the 2022 season, we currently sit at an estimated $36M in cap space, with 38 players currently under contract. As of right now, we have a full 11 starters scheduled to hit free agency – Godwin, JPP,… Read more »

drdneast
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Oh yes, good guards fall out of the sky in rounds two thru four. They rain down on the NFL. I’d like you to explain to Tom Brady how Cappa’s position is “low value.”
You really are a hoot. You also seem to have short term memory problems when it comes to remembering how difficult it was for Lict to fill that one guard position unoccupied by Marpet. It had a bigger sieve than the dike at Piney Pt.
You thinking good solid guards are plentiful and easy to pick up is what makes you a bad GM.

Horse
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Dot had nothing to do with this at all. Capps needed time to develop which he has done.

drdneast
Reply to  Spitfire
3 months ago

Dot was a solid RT but the last two years of his tenure he showed that age had taken its toll. The guy played his heart out for the Bucs.

Captain Sly
3 months ago

While playing next to Dotson Cappa looked like someone who was drafted in the 3rd rd. It’s amazing how he’s looked playing next to arguably the best RT in football, Suddenly he can pass protect and his run blocking improves. Tristan Wirfs has already gotten Aaron Stinnie paid prematurely and now we’re talking about paying Cappa? At some point you just run out of cash and you end loosing key players because you can’t afford $ true open market value. There are only two special players on this team and Tristan Wirfs is one of them we just need to… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  Captain Sly
3 months ago

Captain Sky, younger players like this is important to sign as early as possible, as their future value will continue to increase more than the now estimated value in the future.

drdneast
Reply to  Horse
3 months ago

Well said but after his performance last year I’m sure Cappa isn’t ready to ink a deal right now since the salary cap is expected to balloon the next couple of years.

Captain Sly
Reply to  Horse
3 months ago

Agreed, But we can’t pay everybody. Cappa was okay while playing next to Wirfs but so was his backup named Aaron Stinnie. Common denominator being Tristan Wirfs! I’m not saying get rid of good players but the Bucs can’t keep shelling out huge $ for average players. Especially Guards!

fredster
3 months ago

I’m not saying this as pro Winston just observation, but our o line did suck when he was here.it’s blossomed into a good unit now.

They were Below average pass and run blocking. Cappa was bad as was the aging Dot. Smith was more inconsistent. Even Jensen stunk his first year with all those penalties.

Glad Cappa improved but he’s going to not be cheap next season if we keep him.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  fredster
3 months ago

No doubt – it was pretty terrible. The common narrative has developed into Jameis constantly holding the ball way too long. That was true earlier in his career, but he developed every year to improve the speed of his decision making, which should have reduced pressure on him. The FACT is that he had roughly median times to throw for the last couple years of his career – in 2019, he was 14th quickest to throw in the league with an average time to throw of 2.77 seconds. In 2018, he was 20th. He wasn’t especially quick, but he wasn’t… Read more »

drdneast
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 months ago

Can you name the guards that started here after Mankins left. The main problem for Winston weren’t the fault of Dot or Smith but the one guard position unoccupied by Marpet. Geeesh.

drdneast
Reply to  fredster
3 months ago

I agree with you Fredster as do most of the people who graded out offensive lines. Winston didn’t have the best protection when he was here and the main reason was because we always seemed to be one guard short.
I don’t know why it was such a problem since TooFamiliar thinks they are easy to come by. Most teams can just go into a WaWa and pick one up.

Dave
Reply to  fredster
3 months ago

Yeah I disagree there. The OLine was actually pretty good the last couple years Jameis was here. Especially 2019. He made the line look worse, because he couldn’t read a defense. He also held onto the ball too long, and wouldn’t throw it away or take the check down. Then, all of a sudden Tom Brady gets here, and the OLine went from “horrible”, to “elite”. Gee, I find that hard to believe. More likely scenario, is that the OLine was already very good, and Jameis made them look bad, due to his inability to read a defense(seeing as pff… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Dave
aredsoxfan1
3 months ago

Not that they weren’t good, but Brady makes all the linemen look better. Even in Arians offense he gets rid of the ball quickly. We need to draft some young linemen this year to take over the next couple years. Interior linemen are easy to find deep in the draft, no reason to spend big money on them.

scubog
3 months ago

Of course football is the ultimate team game, but I never thought I’d read where the player next door determines the worth of the player. Perhaps the issue is that we in Bucville don’t really know whose screw up resulted in a sack other than placing blame on Donovan Smith as many automatically do. So now, when Cappa has developed,and not only earned a starting role, but is playing well (no doubt due to Wirfs), some think he’s expendable because his back-up also played well (no doubt due to Wirfs). Apparently folks forgot that Licht brought back Ted Larsen to… Read more »

IDGABuc
Reply to  scubog
3 months ago

Larsen really was terrible.