The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been light on spending on previous years, but things have changed since Greg Schiano entered the picture.
For about a decade, fans have consistently criticized the Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for being cheap. Perception that they're more concerned with Manchester United has driven those concerns, as has a lack of free agency spending and, of course, a lack of wins. There are reasons for that lack of spending, and the concerns over Manchester United are misguided (the Glazers take money out of that club, they don't put in money). Generally speaking, spending in free agency on a consistent basis is a bad strategy and will leave you with cap issues.
And yet, that's exactly what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to do this year. And this time, the directive came from the Glazers. Per JoeBucsFan, Mark Dominik appeared on the Buccaneers Radio Network and said that the recent clearing of cap space in anticipation of increased spending this offseason was "ownership directed":
"That's from ownership directed, which I think is fantastic," Dominik said. "Because that continues the commitment from the Glazer family, what they want to do and how they want to build this football team. That's actually opened up a lot of cap room for us going into 2013, a tremendous amount."
That clearing of cap space will give the Bucs plenty of room to spend, as they did last season by outspending every other team in the league in free agency and in total cash spent on player contracts. They are now around $24 million below the 2013 salary cap, will be able to roll over around $6-8 million from this year and free up some extra cap space by releasing Eric Wright and Quincy Black, or re-negotiating their contracts. They have plenty of ways to spend that money, and re-signing defensive end Michael Bennett should be their main priority in that regard.
For some, it will be heart-warming to see the Bucs spending big once again. After all, they routinely spent money leading up to their Super Bowl win in 2002. Unfortunately, that consistent spending is also what hurt them in subsequent years, as they built up huge salary cap problems, forcing them to cut ties with many of the franchise's stalwarts. Letting John Lynch and Warren Sapp walk were big issues for the Bucs, and having to cut ties with Keyshawn Johnson and his massive contract didn't help either.
The Bucs appear to be setting themselves up for a similar problem by pushing cap charges into the future. Will that problem come with a Super Bowl win this time too, or will it result in structural problems without a real reward? This path can be successful, but it does require discretion and smart spending.