On Monday, we started our ideal off-season for how we can "Make the Bucs Great Again," by sharing the players who would be cap casualties if I was in control. After releasing those 4 players, I gained an extra $10.5 million in cap space, and now I have the Bucs at $59 million under the projected salary cap.
On Tuesday, we went through all of the Bucs own free agents and told you exactly what I would do with each player. These decsions cost me about $17 million, which brought my cap room down to $42 million dollars to work with. We initially used spotrac.com for all spec9ifications, but according to overthecap.com, Jacquies Smith is an ERFA, which means his cap number is closer to $500,000 than $2.5 million for 2016, giving me an extra $2 million to play with!
My goal with free agency is to end with still having $12-15 million in cap room. Here's how I would "Make the Bucs Great Again" through free agency.
Free Agency Signings:
(All signings according to fair market value by spotrac.com)
- Olivier Vernon - DE - 2016 cap hit of $11 million (Higher than market value)
- Reggie Nelson - S - 3-year deal with a 2016 cap hit of $4.8 million
- Sean Weatherspoon - LB - 1-year deal worth $3 million
- Trumaine Johnson or Janoris Jenkins - CBs - 2016 cap hit of $8 million
- Brandon Thompson - DT - 1-year $2 million deal
- Marcedes Lewis - TE - 2016 cap hit of $1.5 million
Obviously, I want to attack free agency on defense. Vernon is young and his statistics have consistently improved each season over the first 4 years of his NFL career. In 2015, he had career bests for TFL with 18 and QB hits with 35! I'd love to add Reggie Nelson as a veteran presence on defense. Safety is pretty deep if I miss out on Nelson, but Tashaun Gipson and George Iloka just don't have the experience and leadership I need on the back end of my defense. Both safeties are talented, but I do think both could be risky free agent options that will probably be overpaid. At CB, I love Trumaine Johnson's size, but would definitely settle for Janoris Jenkins' playmaking ability. Sean Smith would likely be my backup plan, since he's just 28 years old. Thompson, Weatherspoon, and Marcedes Lewis are bargain free agents that would be nice fits with the Bucs. The addition of Lewis could lead to the Bucs moving Luke Stocker to full back.
These additions would total around $30 million in cap hits for 2016. Depending on whether spotrac.com or overthecap.com is correct with their free agent classifications for Jacquies Smith, that would leave me with $12-14 million in cap room.
Thursday, we will attack the NFL Draft knowing the off-season we just went through over the last couple of days. Most of my desperate needs have been met, so I can truly allow the draft to fall the way it falls and select the best player left that fits what I want for my team.