Buccaneers rookie contract estimates: $12.3 million to be spent on draft picks

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the cap space to hand out their rookie contracts right now.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be signing their rookies to contracts fairly soon. There's really very little reason not to, as the 2011 CBA has made any negotiations a formality. Which is why Over The Cap can estimate rookie contracts very accurately.

Mike Evans, as the seventh overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, will receive a $14.6 million contract with a $8.96 million signing bonus and a 2014 cap hit of $2,66 million. All of that money should be fully guaranteed. The team's second-round pick, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, will receive a $2.14 million signing bonus in a contract with a total value of $5.25 million. Third-rounder Charles Sims will receive a $3 million contract with a $684,092 million signing bonus.

Beyond those two, most of the remaining contract values are blips on the radar of the Buccaneers' salary cap, representing close to league-minimum deals. In total, the rookies will take up $5.6 million in salary cap space in 2014.

The Bucs have $12.9 million in salary cap space, per the NFLPA's official salary cap page. Add in the $5.6 million demanded by rookie contracts in year one, and we're left with just $7.3 million in salary cap space. In addition, kicker Connor Barth is set to make $1,25 million in per-game roster bonuses, which leaves them with just $6.15 million in cap space. Of course, each of those rookie contracts will push a minimum salary player off the offseason cap, which will free up around $2.5 million. A quick bit of math says the Bucs will have functional cap space of around $8.6 million this offseason.

However, he Buccaneers will also need a few million in cap space to operate the team during the season, which leaves them just a little cap space to actually sign any worthwhile free agents, or trade for expensive players.

If absolutely necessary, the Bucs can create more space. The most likely avenue there would be to replace either Connor Barth or Michael Koenen, both of whose compensation ranks near the top of their respective position groups. But that's likely not going to happen: there's not much incentive for the Bucs to spend much money given the talent still out there.

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