The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to release linebacker Bruce Carter tomorrow, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
Carter was signed in free agency last year as a prospective middle linebacker, but he lost that job to fourth-round rookie Kwon Alexander in training camp. Carter then competed for playing time at strongside linebacker but, lost that to Danny Lansanah. He did get on the field in some sub packages during the year, and got three starts at middle linebacker at the end of the season when Alexander was suspended.
Carter actually looked pretty good during those three starts, and he remains an athletic and explosive linebacker. With Lansanah not expected to be tendered, Carter could be the team's starting strongside linebacker. But paying someone $4.25 million for being on the field less than 50% of the time doesn't make a lot of sense. The Bucs can instead add that $4.25 million to their cap space, which brings them to $54 million. It's hard to imagine that they won't spend a significant percentage of that in free agency.
Incidentally, this is also example #5,920 that the total value of any free agent contract is largely irrelevant. Carter may have signed a $17 million deal, but he was paid just $4.2 million for a single year -- and the Bucs will owe him nothing once they release him.