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Buccaneers sign 5 draft picks, top 3 still unsigned

Tampa Bay’s 5th and 6th round picks are officially members of the roster.

NFL: JUN 06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Offseason Workouts Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buccaneers officially announced Thursday the signings of all five Day 3 picks from the 2023 NFL Draft.

Included in that cluster are fifth-rounders SirVocea Dennis and Payne Durham, as well as sixth-rounders Josh Hayes, Trey Palmer, and Jose Ramirez. They all signed their initial four-year NFL contracts.

It seems likely that all will be in serious contention for some level of playing time in training camp and preseason. Dennis, Hayes, and Ramirez will all push to be key depth, while Durham and Palmer may get some looks on offense but may face a steeper uphill battle than their defensive counterparts.

On the flip side, first-round pick Calijah Kancey, second-round pick Cody Mauch, and third-round pick YaYa Diaby all remain unsigned. Their contracts will take significantly more cash than all of the Day 3 picks — about $3 million. There’s not a lot of urgency right now with training camp more than 6 weeks away, but the Bucs will need to do some tinkering as they’re currently estimated to have only $1.6 million available (top 51).

That should be fairly easy to accomplish with restructures and/or extensions. There have recently been loud whispers of an impending deal for franchise great Mike Evans, who is in the final year of his contract but still stands out as a difference-maker entering his age-30 season. Such an extension could open up as much as $8-10 million in cap space, which obviously gives the franchise plenty more flexibility while locking up and rewarding their offensive cornerstone.

We’ll see what happens on that front, but either way there should be full confidence in the team’s draft class being present for the season’s start.