Yes, the Bucs already are about 13 1/2 miles over the 2023 salary cap (about $50-plus million) and need to shave salaries in a matter of weeks.
For now, $35 million of is a credit card bill tied to three years of Tom Brady debt.
Of course, being over the salary cap means the Bucs have a lot of guys with big contracts. Thankfully, lots are quality players, which means the Bucs probably will look to extend a couple of contracts, work deals to add phony, credit-style years on the ends of a couple of contracts, and perhaps look to trade a big fish or two (Devin White?).
The slimy Saints also are about $50 million beyond the cap, standard operating procedure in New Orleans. So Joe has kept an eye on how the Saints would proceed.
ESPN has reported that the Saints played games with center Erik McCoy’s 2023 contract and turned it into a signing bonus to spread the cap hit across future years of his deal. That saved them $8 million of cap room.
So who will be first up for the Bucs? The Bucs already have played cap games with Shaq Mason’s contract, which has cap hits in 2024, 2024 and 2026 even though he becomes a free agent after this season. Perhaps the Bucs add a season to Shaq’s deal to ease his $9.5 million cap hit this season?
Or what about Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? Is this the year the Bucs decide to give one of them a Buccaneer-for-life contract extension? Each is in the final season of his current contract with massive cap hits.
So many options on the table. Joe expects Saints-like moves by the end of the month.
This content was originally published here.