It was reported earlier today by ESPN’s Jenna Laine that she believes that if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t agree to a long-term deal that they will franchise tag him in order to buy the team more time. Laine goes on to predict,
“If the Bucs can’t work out a long-term deal, which is believed to be in the ballpark of $12 million to $13 million per year, they’ll franchise him at an estimated $14.077 million for one year.”
When looking at all starting LT’s in the league today, PFF ranks him slightly above average. The constant knacks on him being his lack of consistency, despite showing moments of the dominant player he can be. He is often found giving up mid-play if he is beat off the line by a speedy edge rusher, and ultimately fails to protect Jameis Winston’s blind side. This is often hidden by the fact that Winston performs exceptionally well when forced out of the pocket by pass-rushers.
With all that said, Donovan Smith is consistent in at least one thing. His availability to start week in and week out, and there is something to be said for a player’s health and availability on game day.
If the Bucs do in fact franchise tag Smith at roughly $14 million, then it will eat into the already limited cap space situation the Bucs front office finds themselves in. A move that will likely force them to release (or let walk) a few key pieces to free up cap space in order to sign other players heading into free agency.