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Buccaneers have around $68 million in cap space

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have somewhere between $66 million and $78 million in salary cap space, ranked fourth or third in the league. That’s according to Over The Cap and Spotrac, respectively, the two-pre-eminent websites tracking NFL teams’ cap space and spending.

The NFLPA today announced that the leaguewide salary cap has been set at $167 million. With the Bucs carrying over some five million of last year’s cap space, we can estimate their cap space pretty closely.

The difference between Over The Cap’s and Spotrac’s estimate is pretty significant, though it’s also easy to explain. Spotrac has a significantly lower estimate of both Brent Grimes’ salary — failing to take into account the playing-time escalator that Grimes earned this season — and isn’t taking Martin’s salary into account (their site claims they are, their numbers say they aren’t).

The former is a mistake, the latter is at least partially accurate: his three-game suspension means he won’t be paid for three games, reducing his salary by about one fifth, and there’s a chance he won’t be back at all. It’s a bit premature to not count his salary at all, though.

The Bucs’ real cap space is thus around $68 million, but also somewhat immaterial: the Bucs have as much space as they need to sign basically anyone they want in free agency, and then some. They can easily add more if they need to, by cutting Evan Smith or getting rid of Doug Martin’s salary, for instance.

In recent years, the Bucs have spent close to all of their available cap space. We’ll see how busy the Bucs will be this year, but we can expect to sign at least a handful of free agents.