FAB 3. Where The Bucs Have Spent Their Money

In sticking with the front office and financial theme of this week’s SR’s Fab 5 column, let’s take a look at where Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg have spent the team’s salary cap room. According to OverTheCap.com, the Bucs have spent $97,143,102 on defense, $96,944,687 on offense and $6,960,000 on special teams this year.

Let’s take a look at the highest-paid Buccaneers heading into the 2018 season from a salary cap value standpoint.

TOP 12 BUCS CAP VALUES IN 2018

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

WR Mike Evans – $18.258 million cap value
DT Gerald McCoy – $12.75 million cap value
DE Jason Pierre-Paul – $12.5 million cap value
C Ryan Jensen – $12 million cap value
WR DeSean Jackson – $11 million cap value
LB Lavonte David – $8.75 million cap value
QB Jameis Winston – $8.066 million cap value
CB Brent Grimes – $8 million cap value
TE Cameron Brate – $7 million cap value
DE Vinny Curry – $6.5 million cap value
DE William Gholston – $6.5 million cap value
DT Beau Allen – $5 million cap value

This list consists of five offensive players totaling $56.324 million in cap value and seven defensive players totaling $53.5 million in cap value. Jensen is the league’s top-paid center at $10.5 million average per year. At $16.5 million per year on average, Evans is the second-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL behind Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown ($17 million avg.)

With an average of $13.6 million per year, McCoy is the NFL’s fifth-highest paid 4-3 defensive tackle, and he’s ranked as the eighth-highest paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL, accounting for 3-4 defensive tackles, too. Pierre-Paul is the fourth-highest paid 4-3 defensive end at $15 million per year, and the eighth-ranked edge rusher in the league when factoring in pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebackers.

Now let’s take a look at some of the highest-paid Buccaneers that have something to prove this year.

7 BUCS THAT BETTER EARN IT

1. WR Mike Evans – $18,258,000
Evans is the second-highest paid receiver in the NFL and needs to play like it with another dominant 12-touchdown season and his second trip to the Pro Bowl.

2. DT Gerald McCoy – $12,750,000
McCoy’s sack numbers have fallen in each of the last three years. Now at age 30, he has to produce more than six sacks to justify such a rich payday.

3. WR DeSean Jackson – $11,000,000
Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to do what Jackson does best, which is connect on deep passes and score long touchdowns. That needs to change.

Bucs DE William Gholston is listed as a starter over Jacquies Smith. - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DE William Gholston is listed as a starter over Jacquies Smith. – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

4. DE Will Gholston – $6,500,000
Gholston is the Bucs’ third-highest paid D-lineman, and will likely be a backup to Vinny Curry this year. That’s an awful lot of money for a run-stuffing reserve.

5. CB Vernon Hargreaves – $3,866,633
Hargreaves was the 11th pick in the 2016 draft and needs to prove he’s a starter, in addition to earning every penny of his rookie contract, which is fully guaranteed.

6. K Chandler Catanzaro – $3,000,000
The Bucs have had trouble finding a reliable kicker for nearly a decade and spent a ton of money on Catanzaro, who must prove he’s worth the big investment.

7. SS Chris Conte – $2,875,000
Conte makes twice as much as Justin Evans, who is a better safety. He needs to step up his game, stay healthy and make more plays in the secondary.

Are some of those players overpaid? Well, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum and find some of the best values in Tampa Bay this season.

7 BUCS’ BEST VALUES

1. RT Demar Dotson – $4,615,625 cap value
Less than $5 million for a veteran right tackle who has been a starter for nearly a decade – are you kidding? Dotson has employed a terrible agent for years.

2. LT Donovan Smith – $1,931,000 cap value
Say what you want about Smith, but he hasn’t missed a start in three years and is one of the top 15 left tackles in the league – and a bargain at less than $2 million.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Getty Images

3. RB Peyton Barber – $630,000 cap value
Barber will start the season at running back and split time with rookie Ronald Jones, a second-round pick who will make twice ($1,285,805) what Barber will earn.

4. WR Chris Godwin – $779,541 cap value
Godwin is a tremendous value as a starting-caliber receiver making less than $1 million per season. In fact, Godwin will move up on this list in the next two years.

5T. RG Caleb Benenoch – $693,269 cap value
5T. RG Alex Cappa – $678,426 cap value
One of these two young linemen – Benenoch or Cappa – will wind up as the starting right guard this year and will be making less than $1 million. Both are bargains.

7. LB Kendell Beckwith – $754,572 cap value
Beckwith showed his value as a rookie last year, starting at both SAM and MIKE linebacker positions. He’ll be on a cheap rookie contract for the next three years.

Of course players like middle linebacker Kwon Alexander ($2,019,546) and left guard Ali Marpet ($1,200,687) could easily make the Bucs’ Best Values list, but if their contract extensions come to fruition this month as expected, Alexander and Marpet will wind up in the top 5 highest-paid Buccaneers list instead.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

18 COMMENTS

  1. Lets not forget that Gholston, Grimes, and Jackson will all more than likely be gone after this season. So that will free up $25.5 million in cap space

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    • +1
      We’ll still have cap to work with at least until Jameis gets his extension. Greenberg will work his magic with the numbers as he has so far and keep us out of trouble.

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  2. You state that we have a playoff ready roster this year, yet I’m seeing predictions like 1-15 and 2-13-1. Are these writers/prognosticators that out of touch? We will be better than last year and I think we could surprise people. 10-6.

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    • If we get through our first 3 games at 1-2 I believe we can go to the playoffs with this team, most likely wildcard cause our division is brutal. But still playoffs

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    • We definitely have a playoff ready ROSTER, it’s a matter of “I’ll believe it when I see it” when it comes to the coaching staff putting the pieces together though. I think we’re looking at easily a 9+ win season this year

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  3. So let me get this straight, out CB’s who excelled in their previous colleges at press coverage are doing a great job covering in…. press coverage??!! If I see mike smith play these guys 10 yards off again this year he should be fired after game one.

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    • +1

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    • +3

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    • +500

      Dude it’s so frustrating to see such an obvious flaw, and a professional coach not fix it.
      I don’t care about all this nonsense coaching jargon being said. if your players excel in that role, DO IT. that simple

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    • +1 and +1 more for the sarcasm lol

      I’m hoping the off coverage last year was based on the lack of Dline pressure. That problem should be alleviated this year so Smitty has no reason for running that kind of coverage this year.

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  4. All these scenarios for how we pay Donovan and I’m just sitting here like, what if we don’t bring him back? How much would it cost to cut ties with this fool? If he really is a top 15 tackle in the league like Scott so desperately needs to keep reminding us, he should be good trade bait for a needy team. He’s simply not worth being paid like a top 5 lineman which is basically guaranteed to happen if we keep him. Thinking about the other players we might have to lose because wed be paying Donovan so much makes me sick, and it would be the most Bucs thing ever, of course.

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    • +1

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    • I agree 100% Smith is trash.

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  5. Donovan Smith is not a top-15 left tackle by any measure. That’s just crazy. He allowed more than 50 pressures last year and was dreadful in the running game. Extending or tagging him would be asinine.

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  6. let’s see what he does this year first.

    Go Bucs !!

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  7. MIke Smith… Please use press coverage more. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just let your players do what they do best.

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  8. MIke Smith… Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just let your players do what they do best.

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  9. I agree we should lock up Kwon and Ali, the jury’s still out on D Smith though. I say we let him prove it this year and if he does, tag him for another “prove it” year before extending him. If he doesn’t vastly improve this year, cut ties and draft another LT

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