Other teams around the NFL have already started to release their high-priced veterans to make additional room under the salary cap. The Lions released Reggie Bush. The Packers released A.J. Hawk. The Ravens released return man JaCoby Jones. The Bucs turn to release high-priced players may be coming soon and it may include multiple recognizable names.
We are less than two weeks away from free agency starting in the NFL on March 10. The Buccaneers appear to already have cap room to work with moving forward. According to overthecap.com, the Bucs have $32.6 million under the salary cap, while spotrac.com has the Bucs at $27.65 million under the salary cap. (spotrac.com figures in salaries for draft picks, which makes their number lower) Even with the Bucs having such a large amount under the cap, it appears they will have much more money to work with if their purge is as large as I'm hearing.
The Bucs could be releasing multiple names very soon. Here is a list of POSSIBLE names that could be released and how it could effect the Bucs cap situation. All but one (Mankins was a trade) of the names listed below were free agent signings of the Bucs.
Anthony Collins (OT) - According to overthecap.com, releasing Collins would save the Bucs $3 million towards their 2015 cap and leave the Bucs with $3 million in dead money for 2015 as well. Collins was a massive bust as a free agent signing from a year ago who was benched near season's end in 2014.
Dashon Goldson (S) - According to overthecap.com, releasing Goldson would be similar to releasing Collins as it would save the Bucs $4 million against the cap, but also leave the Bucs with $4 million in dead money. Goldson is a decent player with plenty of experience, but he was never going to live up to the massive contract Mark Dominik signed him to a few years ago.
Michael Johnson (DE) - According to overthecap.com, releasing Johnson would not be as beneficial for the Bucs. Cutting him saves the Bucs just $2 million, but adds an additional $7 million in dead money for 2015. Johnson dealt with some injuries in 2014, but his production was extremely disappointing. It would not surprise me if the Bucs kept Johnson around for 2015.
Michael Koenen (P) - Whether you want to believe it or not, Koenen is the 7th highest paid punter in the NFL according to overthecap.com, but his stats are equivalent to one of the worst punters in the NFL. Releasing Koenen would save the Bucs his entire salary of $3.25 million dollars and leave no dead money.
Evan Dietrich-Smith (C) - The Bucs offensive line was one of the worst units in the NFL in 2014. If the Bucs identified Dietrich-Smith as one of the problems, the Bucs could release him and get his entire salary of $3.75 million back towards their cap. Wit centers like Rodney Hudson, Stefan Wisniewski, and Dominic Raiola available in free agency, the Bucs might see an opportunity to improve an important position.
Logan Mankins (OG) - After comments that both Lovie Smith and Jason Licht made at the combine, I find it hard to believe that Mankins won't be with the Bucs in 2015, but those were similar comments they made about Darrelle Revis a year ago. The fact is that Mankins, 32, counts $7 million against the Bucs cap, and if released, the Bucs would get all of that $7 million back towards their cap space.
Vincent Jackson (WR) - I think the Bucs should exercise every possible way of keeping Vincent Jackson in Tampa Bay. Jackson has been great on and off the field, and with the possibility of drafting Jameis Winston, Jackson could be instrumental to his development. With that said, Jackson counts more than $12 million against the Bucs cap for 2015. If the Bucs were to cut Vincent Jackson and designate it a "post June 1st" release, the Bucs would save $9.8 million. That's a lot of money. My hope is that the Bucs can restructure Vincent Jackson's contract and keep with with the team.
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