Bucs Could Have Multiple Salary-Cap Casualties This Offseason

Leonard Fournette

Getty The Bucs could save $3.5 Million Dollars by releasing Leonard Fournette this offseason.

The 2023 NFL offseason is going to be very interesting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As the team prepares for what life is going to be like without quarterback Tom Brady under center.

With the team potentially transitioning from a ‘win now’ approach with a 45-year-old veteran quarterback, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times suggests that multiple big-name veteran players currently under contract could be cap casualties this offseason.

Three Key Offensive Contributors Could be Salary-Cap Casualties?

A Tampa Bay Times article on February 5 from Bucs Reporter Rick Stroud listed three notable veteran players who could be on the chopping block this offseason, due to the fact the Bucs are projected to enter this offseason a whopping $55 million dollars over the salary cap.

One name that Stroud listed was starting left tackle Donovan Smith.

“Releasing Smith would save the Bucs $9.95 million,” said Stroud. “Once you subtract his salary-cap hit for 2023 ($17.9 million) from the dead cap value ($7.95 million).”

Smith has been a mainstay in the Bucs’ offensive line since he was drafted back in 2015 but logged one of his least impressive campaigns in 2022 and is set to turn 30-years-old later this year.

Not only did he miss multiple games due to injury this season, but he was also one of the most penalized players in the league (12). In addition, he allowed a team-high 6 sacks and saw a pair of touchdowns called back because of holding calls.

Another potential cap casualty Stroud named was running back Leonard Fournette.

“Fournette only averaged 3.5 yards per attempt last season and just 49.9 per game over the last two years,” added Stroud. “Does that sound like a running back worth $7 million per season? Of course, injuries to the Bucs’ offensive line and poor play-calling were factors, too. White should have an expanded role in his second season. The Bucs can save $3.5 million by releasing Fournette.”

Fournette earned the nickname “Lombardi Lenny” for his stellar performance during the Bucs run to the Super Bowl in the 2020 NFL postseason, logging 448 total yards and 4 touchdowns over that four-game stretch, but lost significant work to rookie running back Rachaad White last season.

After all, being the highest-paid running back in a backfield that finished dead last in the league in rushing yards per game (76.9) and yards per rush (3.4) doesn’t exactly scream job security for Fournette.

Lastly, Stroud named yet another offensive skill position player that could help the Bucs save some money this offseason with wide receiver Russell Gage.

Gage had an injury-riddled first season with the Bucs which saw him produce a modest stat line of 51 receptions for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns in his 13 games played this season.

“With Scotty Miller and Julio Jones set to become free agents and not expected to return, the Bucs may want to hang onto Gage for another season to see if they can get more production with a new offensive coordinator,” wrote Stroud. “But they could save about $2.8 million on the salary cap if they want to move on from Gage now.”

Bucs Have to Make Decisions on more than 20 Unrestricted Free Agents This March

The Buccaneers may be able to save some money by releasing some veteran players this offseason, but the team will have more than 20 unrestricted free agents to make decisions on this offseason.

Some notable veteran players who are set to become unrestricted free agents are Lavonte Davis, Julio Jones and Akiem Hicks.