Estimated 2015 Cap Space: $29.8 million ($140M cap limit)
Players Under Contract: 43
Pro Bowlers: 1
Unrestricted Free Agents: 11(1 with 50%+ playtime)
Draft Selection: 1
Salary Cap Breakdown
Free Agents to Re-sign
With Gerald McCoy already re-signed there is little left for Tampa Bay to do as they prepare for the offseason. LB Danny Lansanah has bounced around the NFL for years and seems to have finally found a home. He has been effective in his starts this year. The Bucs control his rights so he won’t be going anywhere next season…There is really no one else on the roster worth going out of the way to keep and the team already extended low level contributors Brandon Myers and Louis Murphy. Major Wright and Mason Foster might be the two most reasonable players to bring back on low value contracts.
Free Agents to Let Walk
Adrian Clayborn has been a disappointment and is constantly injured. I am sure there is some thought that he is worth a low cost one year contract, but he has never been effective and they are just likely throwing money away by keeping him. Maybe he can have a solid NFL career but it will probably never happen in Tampa Bay…DaQuan Bowers has also been a disappointment and has been a headache off the field. He can give the team 200-250 snaps a year as a role player, but that is money that can be better spent elsewhere.
Contracts to Modify
DaShon Goldson has been nothing short of a disaster for Tampa Bay since they signed him to a bloated contract in 2013. He is still owed $4 million and I think that will prove a barrier to release. His salary is far too high at $8 million so bringing it down to $5 million would seem to be a reasonable compromise for both sides, assuming Goldson wants to remain in Tampa…Logan Mankins is set to earn $7 million in 2015 which is the highest cash figure paid to a guard in 2015. He is no longer that level of player and if he wants to continue playing he is worth closer to the $3 million salary that is average for the position.
Players to Consider Releasing
Michael Koenen is coming off a season where he averaged a career low in yards per punt. His $3.25 million salary is the 4th highest cash salary in the NFL next season. I’m not sure the team needs to carry him at that figure….The Buccaneers will need to make a decision on Anthony Collins. He looked to be a take the money and run player and has another $3 million guaranteed, but if they release him they avoid making that guarantee $6 million. It’s worth considering… I thought Evan Dietrich-Smith would have been a solid addition to the Bucs offensive line, but he has been much better and they can find better value for the $3.75 million that it will cost to keep him.
Tampa Bay needs to re-evaluate the way their entire organization has been run as they prepare for the 2015 offseason. Nothing right has worked for them in years as they have exemplified the worst of both worlds: they big money splashes in free agency have failed and their draft strategy has failed. Almost any position is fair game for this team.
Based on availability I would expect the team to look for a running back, defensive end, linebacker, and right tackle in free agency with quarterback, center, and left tackle being draft priorities. The team has a veteran head coach and a number of high priced pieces so it is doubtful they would enter complete rebuilding mode. They do have a few building block players in Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Alterraun Verner, but they need to find a way to build a complementary group rather than just buying a bunch of parts that don’t seem to fit together.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.