Have you heard the rumor that the Buccaneers are in serious salary cap trouble? The belt that holds up the Buccaneer salary cap is definitely pulled a notch tighter than it has been in a long time. But to use the work trouble seems a little harsh.
A salary cap mess in the truest sense of the word would be a situation where the term “dead money” is involved. That is where we see teams have to make the most sacrifices. The teams that have kicked the can down the road with regard to restructuring contracts and spreading the bonuses of their superstars over many years suddenly find themselves eating a salary poo sandwich when all of that money comes due and it no longer makes sense to restructure a contract.
In 2017 the Dallas Cowboys struck gold in the emergence of Dak Prescott. With the 2016 back surgery of Tony Romo, this was quite a find. The problem was that Romo was supposed to be their starter for years. There was no concern each time his contract was restructured to convert base salary to guaranteed money for cap relief. The bottom line: Dallas was on the hook for 17.8-mil., spread over two years for a player who was working the booth for Fox. Dead money.
Want to talk about bad cap decisions? Let’s talk Jacksonville Jaguars. They seemed ready to move on from Blake Bortles at QB, but a wrist injury triggered an injury guarantee in his 19-mil. contract. So Jacksonville tore up that deal and signed him to a new three-year, 54-mil. contract that would only count 10 million against the 2018 cap. With news of the now released Jaguar signing with the LA Rams, the Jaguars will tuck a napkin into their shirt and eat a 16.5-mil. salary pop sandwich for this upcoming season. They also signed Nick Foles to a contract that pays him 22 million this year. Want to talk about having to be a spend thrift—that’s almost 40 million for the QB position, and almost half of it isn’t even on the team.
Jason Licht has some important decisions to make. He has some nights of sleep to lose. He has a draft coming up in just over a month and has to make sure he has money for rookie contracts as well as a little tucked under the mattress for a possible free agent who could help the team win a championship in 2019 (yeah, I went there). But fortunately, when it comes to dead money, badly structured futures contracts and true salary cap trouble, the Tampa Bay ship has steered clear of those turbulent waters.