I've already talked about how the Bucs were still in win-now mode when the new regime took over. So when did this change, and why did it change? Some would say that the 2009 season proved that there was no 'winning now' anymore and that they had to scrap a lot of players and start over. And that's probably true, I'm sure that helped in re-building. But what helped a lot was the uncapped year. And here's why.
First, the lack of a salary cap and salary floor allowed the team to drastically cut salary costs. There was no need for them to hand out big contracts to meet the salary floor, and this allowed them to instead fill the roster with cheap rookies. But they were cheap rookies that could form the future of the team. But it wasn't just the lack of a salary floor but also the lack of a salary cap that helped the Bucs. They could now cut Michael Clayton and Derrick Ward, players given large contracts the year before, and it only helped their salary cap situation. In normal years their bonuses would've accelerated and counted against the cap in 2010, but there was no cap so nothing happened. In fact, the money given to those players is now off the books in the future as well. They're all administrative issues, but without the freedom of the cap-less year the Bucs may have delayed their quick re-building effort. They may have been forced to keep Derrick Ward, which would've prevented the addition of Legarrette Blount. The presence of Michael Clayton may have prevented the Bucs from adding Dezmon Briscoe toward the end of the year. And then there would've been a couple more holes on the roster that needed filling now.