Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were excited when they learned that their team had $43 million to spend in free agency.
They're probably not that excited now that a month has passed.
The Buccaneers are still flush with cash, according to salary information acquired by Bucsblitz.com through a league source.
According to those records, the Buccaneers are still about $30 million under the 2008 salary cap.
Earlier this offseason Bucsblitz.com reported that the Buccaneers had an "adjusted cap figure" of approximately $130 million, thanks to rebates from Likely to Be Earned bonuses. That was well above the $116 cap figure and gave the Buccaneers $43 million to work with this offseason.
According to a source, the Buccaneers stand with a cap figure of $99.994 million for 2008. Right now the Bucs' Top 51 salaries count against the cap. When the regular season begins, all 53 active players will count against the cap.
Most of their cap money spent so far came from their first signing, center Jeff Faine. The Buccaneers made Faine the richest center in NFL history and the first year of his six-year contract will count $7 million against the cap.
The next-highest salary? Oddly enough, it's new defensive end Marques Douglas, who the Bucs signed from San Francisco and will count $2.6 million against the cap in 2008.
Six players will count at least $1 million against the cap in 2008 — RB Michael Bennett, TE John Gilmore, QB Brian Griese (acquired via trade), LB Teddy Lehman, DE Jimmy Wilkerson and CB Eugene Wilson. Only Wilson will be a free agent in 2009.
WR Antonio Bryant — who is likely on his last NFL chance after years of underachieving and off-the-field troubles — will count just $645,000 against the cap, if he makes the team.
Finally, CB Brian Kelly and DE Greg Spires will remain on the books this year after their respective releases. The Bucs are still on the hook for their remaining pro-rated signing bonuses, which total about $1.4 million.
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.