The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ window has closed. They needed 17 weeks to clinch the worst division in football. Their roster is aging and overpaid.
Change is coming. The only question is how widespread. We explore the scenarios in our Tampa Bay Buccaneers offseason preview, with a look at the club’s free agents, cut candidates, and team needs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offseason Preview: The End Is Near
The Buccaneers were an average team and earned their 8-9 record. If they played in any other division, Tom Brady’s postseason streak would have ended. (He’s now appeared in the playoffs 19 straight times, not counting his knee injury season of 2008.)
And if he returns to go for 20 in 2023, it’ll almost certainly be with another team.
The Buccaneers limped through the season with the NFL’s oldest roster, and much of what is left of the team’s Super Bowl nucleus could be gone in the next few months.
And with a horrendous cap situation and just three draft picks in the first 150 picks, there’s no way to replace them all.
This is a franchise in decline, and Brady — a free agent for the second time in four offseasons — knows it. There’s no way he wants to go through another season like the one he just endured.
Buccaneers’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Buccaneers were over the 2023 salary cap by $43.1 million as of early January, giving them the second-worst cap situation in the NFL.
That figure reflects less than $1 million in dead cap and $3 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Buccaneers Free Agents 2023
The following Buccaneers players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA, exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- DE Genard Avery
- RB Giovani Bernard
- QB Tom Brady
- CB Sean Bunting
- ILB Lavonte David
- CB Jamel Dean
- CB Dee Delaney (RFA)
- S Mike Edwards
- QB Blaine Gabbert
- DE William Gholston
- LB Cam Gill (RFA)
- DE Akiem Hicks
- WR Julio Jones
- G Nick Leverett (ERFA)
- WR Scotty Miller
- DE Carl Nassib
- SS Keanu Neal
- OLB Anthony Nelson
- DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches
- DE Pat O’Connor
- WR Breshad Perriman
- TE Kyle Rudolph
- CB Logan Ryan
- DT Deadrin Senat
- G Aaron Stinnie
- RT Josh Wells
Linebacker Lavonte David
Spotrac’s calculated market value: One year, $9.7 million ($9.7 million AAV)
Overview: Father Time is undefeated, but David is making that old man work to keep that streak intact. He had one of the best seasons of his long career at the age of 32. David’s window of securing a long-term, big-money deal is probably over. However, with nearly $80 million in career earnings, he’s probably not hurting for money.
Cornerback Jamel Dean
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Three years, $26.3 million ($8.8 million AAV)
Overview: In a world with no salary cap, Dean would be a no-brainer re-signing for the Bucs. He’s young (26). He’s productive. And he might be still getting better. Dean was among the Buccaneers’ leaders in interceptions and passes defensed. There should be a robust market for his services.
Potential Cut Candidates
- OT Donovan Smith ($9.9 million in cap savings)
- G Shaq Mason ($9.6 million)
- K Ryan Succop ($3.8 million)
- RB Leonard Fournette ($3.5 million)
- TE Cameron Brate ($2 million)
Buccaneers’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Running Back