Much has been made about the Bucs keeping their Super Bowl champion team intact this past offseason. The team re-signed all critical free agents, while adding very few outside names in 2021. This offseason could unfold in similar fashion for the Bucs. Only this time, they’ll be working with a salary cap almost $26 million higher than it was in 2021. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the salary cap is expected to hit its’ maximum $208.2 million ceiling in 2022.
The 2022 NFL Salary Cap is expected to reach the max of $208.2M — which means spending should be back.
Per OverTheCap.com, the Bucs are currently slated to have almost $33 million in cap space this offseason. That mark would give them the 16th-most cap space in the NFL. A few moves could open up more space, but the bottom line is that Tampa Bay should have enough flexibility to retain most of their critical free agents this offseason.
Among the biggest names that will be free agents are WR Chris Godwin, CB Carlton Davis, C Ryan Jensen, WR Antonio Brown, RB Leonard Fournette and TE Rob Gronkowski. Fellow starters OG Alex Cappa, S Jordan Whitehead, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT Will Gholston and OLB Jason Pierre-Paul will also be free to sign elsewhere.
That’s 11 starters for Tampa Bay to consider this offseason, along with several key depth pieces. The good news is that future salary cap years look very favorable for players. The NFL is replete with revenue right now. Those streams are only expected to become more plentiful over the next few years. This growth could give the Bucs even more flexibility to push cap money into future years, given how much more room they’ll have at that time. Per Rapoport:
All of that has also generated optimism the cap will spike substantially again in 2023 as money from new TV deals hit and trigger media “kickers” in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement that can increase players’ share of revenue from 48% to as high as 48.8%. (The CBA is a revenue-sharing deal in which the cap is based on players’ share, divided into salary and benefits.)
Regardless of what happens, a critical offseason for the Bucs is on the horizon. An elevated salary cap will help, but several tough decisions are on the way for Tampa Bay’s front office.
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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