This SR’s Fab 5 column on the Bucs is exclusively serviced by Discount Garage Doors – the official garage door company of PewterReport.com. If you are in need of a new look for your garage doors or if you are in need of repairs, turn to Discount Garage Doors. Whether it’s a broken cable or springs or a crooked door, Discount Garage Doors can help you out. Click here for a list of locations as Discount Garage Doors services 17 Florida counties and The Villages.
It’s time to beautify your home for the holidays with a new set of garage doors. Call 866-420-DOOR or visit DGDoors.com to view Discount Garage Doors list of services and garage doors that can be installed to improve the look of your home. And remember, Discount Garage Doors offers FREE service calls. Don’t wait – call today!
Mention PewterReport.com and SAVE 10% OFF your order or service call at Discount Garage Doors!
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. Bucs Facing Salary Cap Crunch In 2019
The 2019 NFL salary cap is expected to be $190 million, and for the first time in a long while, the Buccaneers won’t be flush with salary cap space heading into the offseason. Tampa Bay director of football administration Mike Greenberg has done a remarkable job with the salary cap over the years, but recent contract extensions for wide receiver Mike Evans, left guard Ali Marpet and tight end Cam Brate, in addition to $20.92 million in fifth-year option money slated for quarterback Jameis Winston will have taken their toll in 2019.
Tampa Bay has $177,571,266 in salaries right now for the 43 players under contract for the 2019 campaign, leaving the team with just $17,857,759 in salary cap room.
Smith could fetch a contract worth between $12-$13 million per year or receive the franchise tag and make approximately $14 million next year, while Alexander could make $8-$10 million per year despite coming off an ACL tear. Or the Bucs could try to squeeze him with a one-year prove-it deal for less due to his injury, which could keep him out of action through training camp.
Humphries has done more in his contract year than any other Buccaneer, turning in a career season with 71 catches for 750 yards and five touchdowns after 61 receptions for 631 yards and one touchdown a year ago. Humphries stands to nearly double his base salary and earn close to $5 million per year after a strong 2018 campaign.
The Big Takeaway
As it stands right now without Smith, Alexander and Humphries under contract in 2019, the Bucs have the fourth-lowest available cap room in the entire league. Two teams – Indianapolis ($123,838,366) and the New York Jets ($106,035,475) – have over $100 million in salary cap space heading into 2019 compared to Tampa Bay’s $17.8 million.
The Bucs have $96,977,657 committed to offense next year and $77,499,094 committed to defense in 2019, along with $3 million towards special teams. Yet Tampa Bay can create an additional $60.225 million in salary cap room by making some roster cuts or trades in the offseason.
In last week’s SR’s Fab 5, I chronicled how this Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium could very well be the last for long-time defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who might be released or traded in the coming months so that the team could make better use of his $13 million salary rather than pay for a defensive tackle on the decline that turns 31 in February. Here is a look at some of the other high-priced Buccaneers that could be released with little-to-no salary cap ramifications.
DT Gerald McCoy – $13 million in salary / cap savings
WR DeSean Jackson – $10 million in salary / cap savings
DE Vinny Curry – $8 million in salary / cap savings
TE Cameron Brate – $7 million in salary / cap savings
DT Beau Allen – $5 million in salary / cap savings
RT Demar Dotson – $4.85 million ($125,000 dead cap money – saves $4.725 million)
DT Mitch Unrein – $3.75 million in salary / cap savings
DE Will Gholston – $3.75 million in salary / cap savings
P Bryan Anger – $3 million in salary / cap savings
G Evan Smith – $2 million in salary / cap savings
Possible total cap savings = $60.225 million
If the Bucs released all of those players Tampa Bay would then have $77,082,759 in cap room, which would flip the team from having the fourth-lowest to the sixth-highest in cap room.
Stats That Count
Let’s break down each of the possible salary cap casualties and explain the reasoning for the team potentially parting ways with them.
DT Gerald McCoy
The Bucs might be better off trying to get some value trading McCoy and drafting a defensive tackle rather than having him play for $13 million next year. Trying to find a team with the cap space and desire to trade for McCoy may prove to be a challenge. Vita Vea was drafted to replace McCoy anyway.
WR DeSean Jackson
Winston will be the QB next year in Tampa Bay and can’t hit Jackson with the deep ball, which is the sole reason why Jackson is with the Bucs. His production doesn’t match his $10 million price tag, and he may be too expensive to trade. Jackson wants to move on from the Bucs – and the feeling is mutual.
DE Vinny Curry
Curry is a good player, but is a bit of a luxury at $8 million per year, especially when Carl Nassib took over the starting job at left defensive end. If Licht doesn’t return, Curry appears to be a cap casualty for sure.
TE Cameron Brate
Brate is a very good tight end, but not as gifted as O.J. Howard. Depending on the next head coach’s offensive system, Brate might be expendable if there isn’t value in carrying two pass-catching tight ends on the roster.
DT Beau Allen
Allen is a good veteran leader, but makes $5 million as a run-stuffing defensive tackle, and that might be a little rich for a team that plays in a pass-happy division in the NFC South.
RT Demar Dotson
The Bucs will have a $125,000 dead cap hit if they release Dotson, but the move would save $4.725 million. Dotson, who will turn 34 next year, likely won’t be around if there is a regime change.
DT Mitch Unrein
Unrein hasn’t played this year due to a massive concussion that happened during training camp that is likely career-ending. Unrein will be released as a result to free up $3.75 million.
DE Will Gholston
Gholston is merely a role player due to his inability to rush the passer. The fact that he’ll be making $3.75 million next year as opposed to the $6.5 million he’s making this year will help his chances for sticking around in 2019, but rookie defensive ends are much cheaper.
P Bryan Anger
Anger is a decent punter, but his stats have declined over the past two seasons, evidenced by 23 less punts downed inside the 20-yard line this year compared to 2016. At $3 million, Anger is expensive for a punter.
G Evan Smith
Smith will be 33 in July and his body can’t hold up the way it used to. The Bucs can find a younger, better, cheaper reserve offensive lineman in 2019 to replace Smith for about half the price.
The FABulous Ending
After two years of double-digit losing seasons, change is coming to Tampa Bay – and not just with the coaching staff. The Bucs will be making some significant changes to their roster as well. The changes will come partly due to wanting to upgrade the talent and get younger at some positions, but it’s also due to the Bucs’ need to free up some salary cap room in 2019.