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NFL Salary Cap: Buccaneers working with some $33 million in space

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Salary Cap has been set at $143.28 million, the NFLPA has announced. Along with a $1 million carryover from last year and some $113 million in cap spend, per Over The Cap, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have about $33 million in salary cap space once free agency starts.

That's their cap space, but that's a long way removed from their actual spending room. To start with, they'll need about $5 million in space for their rookie draft class, while a few million of spending room are always necessary for in-season transactions. Add in a likely $10 million-per-year contract for Lavonte David, and the spending room quickly dips to $18 million before cuts. And looking at that number, it should be pretty obvious why Ndamukong Suh, who would cost them at least $15 million per season, is not an especially realistic option.

That said, those $18 million do give the Bucs plenty of room to add some quality players at multiple positions, most notably offensive guard and tackle. And cutting Anthony Collins will give them another $3 million to spend there, too. If they want to go wild, they can also cut Michael Koenen and Dashon Goldson for another $7.25 million in added cap space -- although they would have to replace all of those players, too.

All of that to say that the Bucs have a lot of holes to fill, but they have the ammunition and the inclination to do so. As they did last year, expect to spend nearly all of their cap space this season. It should be another active offseason for Tampa Bay.

Note, though, that this doesn't make the Bucs especially rich in comparison to other teams. In previous years they were always close to the top, but now they're barely inside the top 10, according to Over The Cap. Several teams will be able to outbid them for key free agents if they don't act quickly and decisively.