With the release of long-time Buccaneer Gerald McCoy, the assumption is that the move was made to free up enough cap space to sign not only the 2019 draft picks but also someone to replace McCoy on the bolstered defense. The Bucs wasted no time in finding a replacement for McCoy by coming to an agreement with former Ram Ndamukong Suh, but the agreed-upon contract isn’t a great deal less than what the Buccaneers were paying McCoy, and now leaves the availability of enough funds to sign the remaining draft picks in jeopardy.
With McCoy gone, the Buccaneers were able to free up $13 million dollars, but due to the signing of Suh, that amount has been reduced by just shy of $9.25 million dollars as that is what it took to secure the man-beast for at least one season, but it’s still an investment that they hope pays off and proves to be worth the drama that came with letting McCoy go.
There are still 3 remaining draft picks that have yet to be signed in 3rd round picks Jamel Dean (CB) and Mike Edwards (S) along with 1st round draft pick Devin White (LB). White is expected to earn somewhere around $5 million dollars, with Dean and Edwards somewhere between $750,000 and $1 million dollars each.
When you factor in the 3 remaining draft picks along with the expected contract of Suh, it puts the Buccaneers in a tough position, as they will be earning between $18 and $20 million dollars. This is not only much more than they saved by releasing McCoy, but also much more than they have in available cap space. How exactly this difference will be covered can come from various means depending on which path the Bucs wish to take.
The recent injury to Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) and his decision to not have surgery may prove to be a good decision for his availability to play this year, but on the chance it doesn’t, and he is required to sit the year out, the Buccaneers have the option of putting him on the Non Football Injury list, which would free up the $14.9 million dollars he is owed for 2019 and would easily cover the outstanding contracts still to be signed when combined with the $13 million dollars they saved by releasing McCoy.
However, if it turns out JPP made the right decision not to have surgery and suits up this season, it puts the Buccaneers in a very tough position. The release of McCoy will cover the signing of Suh, but the remaining several million dollars will have to be found elsewhere.
The drafting of Matt Gay (K), could result in the release of current kicker Cairo Santos, and save the team another $800,000.00. With numerous players at both running back and cornerback, one can assume that at least one player from both positions will be cut, and surely the team will choose not to go with more than 2 quarterbacks which will all free up a good portion of the negative cap.
Assuming that there isn’t another major hole that winds up needing to be filled at some point in the season due to a player under-performing or some form of injury, the Buccaneers look to be in just good enough shape to not need any further significant cuts to the roster in order to cover the salary cap. However, like many teams in the league, it will leave them just one player away from being in the same position all over again.