The news of Buccaneers Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet retiring sent shock waves through the Buccaneers fanbase. After the dust settled the first question in most people’s minds was “how does this affect the Bucs cap space?”
Per Greg Auman of The Athletic, “Marpet’s retirement gives the Bucs a major hole to fill at guard. They won’t have to pay his $10 million salary for 2022, but take on at least some of $7 million in dead cap from previous restructures to his contract. Could be processed as a post-June 1 move.”
When you defer money it helps free up cap room by “kicking the can down the road” as they say. Meaning, you can spread the amount out over years moving forward. But, if the player whose money you deferred retires, you lose the ability of deferment and it’s time to pay the piper.
There are several ways the Bucs can handle Marpet’s contract as Pewter Report’s Joshua Queipo points out. They could expedite filing his retirement papers, but that would excelerate roughly $4.5 million in his prorated bonus. They could renegotiate his contract down to the veteran minimum, this would save just under $9 million of cap space. Either way, the money saved is not nearly enough to replace a player with Marpet’s talent.
The Buccaneers now have Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and starting guard Alex Cappa about to hit free agency. With Marpet’s retirement, you could be looking at losing three of your five starting offensive linemen from the last two seasons.
Regardless of whether the Buccaneers can keep Cappa, Jensen or both, look for the team’s free agency and draft strategy to change with Marpet’s retirement.
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