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The reason why the Buccaneers haven't spent in 2016 makes no sense

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't been overly active in free agency. They've re-signed Doug Martin, signed J.R. Sweezy and that's about it. With some $36 million in remaining cap space, per Over The Cap, they have the room to sign a lot more free agents. Instead, it seems they're staying fairly stingy.

There are good reasons to be stingy. This free agent class isn't great, and some players are getting paid some absurd amounts of money on the open market because of that. The Bucs also want to build through the draft, and spending heavily in free agency doesn't exactly fit that goal -- though supplementing the draft is always useful. According to Pewter Report, though, one big reason why the Bucs haven't spent is the following list of their 2017 free agents.

SS Bradley McDougald
CB Johnthan Banks
C Joe Hawley
DE Will Gholston
DT Akeem Spence
RT Demar Dotson
RT Gosder Cherilus
QB Mike Glennon
WR Vincent Jackson
K Connor Barth
TE Brandon Myers
SS Major Wright
WR Russell Shepard
RB Mike James

Apparently, the Bucs need to save their cap space to re-sign these superstars. That's absurd when you just glance at the list, but it's even more bizarre if you delve deeper.

Aside from Vincent Jackson, none of these players should command significant cash in 2017 unless they have career years. Whether the Bucs even want to re-sign Jackson remains to be seen, as he's clearly entering the final few years of his career at 33. While that list includes six or seven starters, they're starters the Bucs are either going to have to replace soon regardless (Jackson, Wright, Dotson/Cherilus), or who haven't played that much better than their possible replacements (Banks, Hawley, McDougald).

More than that, the Bucs currently have just $78 million committed to the 2017 salary cap, per Over The Cap. That's the second-lowest amount in the NFL. That includes $6.5 million for Alterraun Verner (who's on the bubble this year), $4.5 million for Evan Smith (who either replaces Hawley or gets cut in 2017) and $2.5 million for George Johnson, who probably loses his job this year. The actual commitment to 2017 could be as low as $55 million -- with a salary cap that is expected to rise significantly beyond the $155 million of this season (Over The Cap estimates $166 million), and the Bucs rolling over all of their 2016 cap space.

Theoretically, that means the Bucs could have as much as $130 million in cap space in 2017. In practice, it'll be less than that -- but they're not in any danger of not having enough money to re-sign their 2017 free agents, even if they spend all of their 2016 cap space. Simply put, refusing to spend money now because you want to re-sign some replacement-level starters next year is ridiculous.