Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians met with the media on Wednesday as they look ahead to this offseason. One of the biggest topics is centered around the team’s salary cap situation.
The organization may be strapped a bit with money to bring back the core of the team — something Arians and Licht both have emphasized since their Super Bowl LV victory. In order to give them some breathing room, they will have to structure contracts in a way that’ll help them bring back many from the 2020 roster.
One of those options is the restructuring of current contracts.
“I think we have a number of guys that would restructure if needed to be just to help the rest of the guys out,” Arians said. “Nobody’s giving up money. That’s one thing for sure. They’re just pushing it in a different direction to help the cap. We’re in great shape. Jason [Licht] and Mike Greenberg have done a great job of keeping us in a great spot that way. It always comes down to dollars and cents, but it also comes down to fit. Guys know where they fit and I think all these guys know they fit here. We’ll get the dollars right and hopefully keep this core together.”
Part of keeping the core together is ensuring certain players like wide receiver Chris Godwin and edge rusher Shaquil Barrett don’t get away. If no deal is struck with either of them — which will be difficult considering what their demands could be — placing the franchise tag on one of them would most likely happen.
And Licht is exploring that possibility for those that are eligible.
“The tag is an option for any one of our players right now. We don’t necessarily have plans to use it on one particular player versus another,” said Licht. “Right now, we’re trying to keep as many of these players that we have and move forward to next year – [whether] that’s a long-term deal, a short-term deal or we use the tag. You’re not going to get me to tell you who’s going to get tagged because right now, we couldn’t even tell you ourselves.”
Many have offered suggestions on the potential route the Buccaneers could take. With anywhere from NFLPA’s current calculation of $18 million to ESPN’s projected $30 million of cap space, the Bucs will certainly have to get creative restructuring contract and determining who gets tagged.
Fortunately for them, they’re used to being in this position and Licht and his staff have managed it just fine.