Buccaneers starting guard Ali Marpet has decided to step away from the NFL, announcing his retirement after seven seasons in the NFL. Marpet, who was a Pro Bowl player this year, was scheduled to have a $12.775 million salary cap charge for the cap strapped Buccaneers. The team will have two options with his cap number from this point forward.
Marpet could be placed on the retired list tomorrow to officially remove him from the roster. The Buccaneers would carry $7.15 million in dead money on the salary cap for him, creating $5.625 million in salary cap space for the team this year.
The second option would be to renegotiate his salary down from $10 million to $1.12 million for the year and then carry him on the roster until June 2nd. This would simply be a procedural move to create the maximum cap room possible for the team. By proceeding this way the Buccaneers would reduce Marpet’s cap charge to just $3.895 million during free agency and then to $2.775 million after June 2nd. This strategy creates $10 million in cap room for 2022 and pushes $4.375 million in dead money to 2023.
As of today the Buccaneers are estimated to be about $2.5 million under the salary cap, though that number includes Tom Brady at a full salary cap charge. Brady announced his retirement a few weeks ago but there has been no movement from Tampa Bay on processing anything there. Given how many free agents Tampa has, maximizing cap room in 2022 would seem to be the proper move.
Marpet’s retirement leaves the Buccaneers offensive line in a state of flux. With Marpet leaving they lose about 90% of their snaps at left guard. Center Ryan Jensen is the top ranked free agent center. He played over 97% of the snaps last year for Tampa. Guard Alex Cappa is also a free agent and played every snap for the team.
In addition to potentially losing their entire interior offensive line the team will also have to deal with multiple potential free agent losses. Wide receiver Chris Godwin, cornerback Carlton Davis, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, tight end Rob Gronkowski, safety Jordan Whitehead, running back Leonard Fournette, and edge Jason Pierre-Paul are all free agents. Overall the team stands to lose 39% of their snaps in free agency, the fourth highest total in the NFL. Those numbers do not include the losses of Brady and Marpet which should vault them to the highest number in the league.