The Tampa Bay Buccaneers restructured the contracts of four players according to Greg Auman of Fox Sports, creating $44.076 million in much needed salary cap space.
Bucs have restructured contracts with veterans Vita Vea, Carlton Davis, Ryan Jensen and Chris Godwin to create $44 million in 2023 cap space.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 10, 2023
To reach the reported numbers the Bucs would have had to do maximum salary conversions for each player by adding void years to every contract so that the bonuses could be prorated over five full seasons.
Godwin created the most salary cap savings for Tampa, dropping his cap number from $23.75 million to $8.614 million, a savings of $15.136 million. To achieve those savings, Tampa added one more void year to Godwin’s contract, giving him a total of three void years, and converted $18.92 million of his salary to a bonus. Godwin’s 2024 salary cap number increased by $3.784 million to $27.5 million. If Godwin’s contract voids in 2025 he will leave the Bucs with $18.852 million in dead money. Currently his 2025 year will void 23 days prior to the start of free agency that year.
$10.736 million was created by adding three void years to Davis’ contract and converting $13.42 million of salary to a bonus. Davis 2024 cap number will increase by $2.684 million to $20.5 million. The team now has $8 million in dead money to account for if they allow his contract to void in 2025.
Vea saved the team $9.136 million in cap space. He had $11.42 million of his salary converted to a bonus. Vea is under contract for four seasons so the team only needed to add one additional void year to this contract. Vea’s 2024, 2025, and 2026 cap numbers all increased by $2.284 million and the 2027 void year currently stands at that same $2.284 million number.
Finally, Jensen’s restructure opened up $9.068 million in cap room. The team converted $11.335 million in salary to a bonus and they tacked on another void year to his contract to bring that total to three void years. Jensen’s 2024 cap number increased by $2.267 million and if his contract voids in 2025 he will now leave the Bucs with $11.8 million in dead money.
Despite opening up $44 million in cap room the Bucs still have work to do with the cap. We still estimate the team to be over the cap by $5.6 million. They have announced that they will release TE Cameron Brate but have yet to process the move. His release will save the team about $2 million in cap room. RB Leonard Fournette will also be released but he has a salary guarantee so as a procedural move can not be cut until after free agency begins so he can not help them become cap compliant. The team can still open up millions more with restructures of Shaquil Barrett and Mike Evans if they choose.
The big issue for the Bucs is the looming void of Tom Brady’s contract. Brady will count $35.104 million on the cap if his contract voids. Brady has publicly stated that he is retiring and could sign a ceremonial contract for the minimum that would bring that cap charge down to about $12 million and allow the team to officially retire him on June 2, deferring $25 million in dead money to 2024. The fact that they have not done that is going to continue to lead to speculation that Brady wants to keep open the possibility of playing in 2023 since that deferred cap option would no longer allow Brady to be a free agent until June. The Bucs are the middle of the pack in 2024 cap room and it would be far easier for them to take those charges next year rather than in 2023.