Buccaneers Sign Former $3 Million Super Bowl Champ Starter: Report

Todd Bowles

Getty The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look different in 2023.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting a boost to their defensive line by adding Los Angeles Rams starting defensive tackle Greg Gaines, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Gaines has been a starter in Los Angeles throughout the last two seasons, including during the Rams’ Super Bowl run in 2021.

The defender had 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks during 16 appearances last season, including 12 starts. Gaines previously signed a four-year, $3.1 million rookie deal with the Rams in 2019 and had a $2.5 million salary last season.

Spotrac projected Gaines market value to be a four-year, $31 million contract which would have given the defensive tackle an average annual salary of $7.7 million. Given the Buccaneers’ salary cap challenges, the franchise likely signed Gaines at much more of a discount.

“Greg Gaines played 90 percent of the defensive snaps in Super Bowl win for Rams two seasons ago,” Fox Sports’ Greg Auman tweeted on March 18. “Had 12 tackles in four playoff games. Now joins Bucs defensive line as a free agent.”

Gaines now reunites with Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea as the two defensive linemen were college teammates at the University of Washington. According to Spotrac, the Bucs have just $1.2 million in projected cap space remaining indicating the team is likely through making major moves, aside from the upcoming draft.

The Bucs Are Quietly Having an Impressive Offseason Despite the Lack of Cap Space

Buccaneers general Jason Licht has quietly led the franchise to an impressive offseason despite plenty of obstacles. Tampa Bay faced the retirement of Tom Brady and found themselves more than $55 million above the salary cap heading into the spring.

The Bucs were able to re-sign a number of key free agents including cornerback Jamel Dean, linebacker Lavonte David and guard Aaron Stinnie. Licht also inked Baker Mayfield to a one-year, $4 million deal offering the team a bargain for their next potential starting quarterback. If Mayfield does not work out as planned, the Bucs still have flexibility to pursue a long-term solution via the draft or free agency next offseason.

Bucs GM Jason Licht: Baker Mayfield ‘Is Excited to Come in & Compete for the Starting Job’

Barring another quarterback addition in the draft, the Bucs plan to allow Mayfield to compete against Kyle Trask to earn the QB1 role for next season. Licht made it clear that Mayfield was not guaranteed the starting job when the team signed the former No. 1 pick.

“Baker is a tough competitor who plays with the kind of passion and confidence that you look for in a quarterback,” Licht said in a March 17 statement released by the team. “He’s a young veteran with good upside who should thrive in our new offensive system with receivers like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage.

“He had an impressive 2020 season when he led the Browns to their playoff appearance and did some good things during his brief stint with the Rams at the end of last season. I know from speaking with him that he is excited to come in and compete for the starting job.”

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