In an unsurprising move the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to make their first cuts of the next season by releasing DE Vinny Curry. He came in from Philadelphia with 22 sacks and had just helped lead his team to a Super Bowl Victory. He and his $6.5M salary didn’t help the Bucs too much. He collected only 2.5 sacks and 21 combined tackles.
In a year when the Bucs cap space is limited, Curry will more than likely be the first among additional cuts to come. Who is next, though?
In 2017 Jackson was pulled away from Washington to be the speedy deep threat the Bucs were lacking. At the time, he seemed to be the guy who would be able to stretch the field for Tampa Bay to open up opportunities for some of their other talented receivers.
That has not been the case, though, as he has failed to build consistent good chemistry with QB Jameis Winston. And he has only 1,442 yards and 7 TD’s over two years. The Bucs’ front office imagined endless highlight reels of deep ball TD connections from Winston to Jackson. Instead there was just plenty of disheartening film of balls sailing over Jackson’s head.
In 2019 he is due to make $10M for his services. Considering that the Bucs have just under $15M in cap space, which will likely be eaten by Donovan Smith, they could easily release him to clear an additional $10M with no dead cap money. They could try to trade Jackson in the final year of his contract. That seems unlikely, though, as they have no form of real leverage in trade talks.
Tampa Bay’s own Mr. Reliable and security blanket for Jameis Winston could be looking for a big pay day in 2019 as an UFA. Spotrac has Humphries’ market value at $10.4M per year. Again, a steep price for a team who will be looking for ways to save money. Even though he is a fan favorite, they might have to get used to the idea of Humphries being in another uniform. Unless he is willing to take a hometown discount, of course.
One of Winston’s consistent end zone threats could be a cap casualty if the Bucs are looking for ways to create further cap space. Last year Brate signed a 6-year $40.8M contract but can be released from here on out without any cap hit. With the emergence of TE OJ Howard last season, Brate saw a drop in production last season in part, with just 289 yards and 6 TD’s. It was also due to the crowded stable of talented pass catchers in Tampa. The Bucs could get by without the reliable, pass-catching TE and trade him for picks or be released.
Since his rookie season, Kwon Alexander has been calling plays on defense as the MIKE. He has evolved into a core leader on defense and has consistently produced. Over his 4-year career he has collect 380 combined tackles, 31 TFL, 6 INT, and 6 FF. All signs point to Alexander wanting to be paid like a top linebacker in the league and desiring to remain in Tampa. Even though he is a solid linebacker for Tampa Bay, stats show that he’s not. The Bucs’ front office will have a tough decision to make, and his $10.2M per year market value salary may be too much to ask for from Licht.