2023 Buccaneers: Can It Still Be Win Now?


The Buccaneers currently sit at an interesting spot as they are at the crossroads of a “win now” approach and a “rebuild”. With alot of people on the hot seat, the Bucs will probably try anything to win now to save jobs. Here is what a rebuild or a win now scenario could look like. 

Let’s lay out the current roster outlook for the Bucs. 

Salary cap- (-)55.5 million 

26 free agents, includes Lavonte David, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Julio Jones, Akiem Hicks, Jamel Dean and William Gholston.

Win Now Mode 

The only way the win now method works is if this team can find a way to get better than they were last season. For any other team, that may not be hard to do, but considering the Bucs just lost Tom Brady and don’t have a quarterback, that could be hard to do. The salary cap might be flexible, but Jason Licht has gone past that limit and will have to make serious changes. 

There are five moves the Bucs must make instantly. They need to restructure Carlton Davis, Vita Vea and Chris Godwin. Find a way to trade Russell Gage even if they are losing value on the trade, and cut Ryan Succop. 

These moves are relatively safe and won’t hinder the future of the team. They also cut the cap down to -27 million. 

Some more moves that could be made, but I wouldn’t pull the trigger on are. Restructuring Ryan Jensen and Shaq Barrett (saves around 12 million). Cutting Cameron Brate and Donovan Smith (saves 12 million) 

These moves plus the behind-the-scenes of cap management not made available to the public should give the Bucs enough money to trade for Derek Carr. Carr could instantly be restructured to save 20 million on this year’s salary cap. 

This allows the Buccaneers to keep the offense intact and shift focus to the defense. I believe they will resign Jamel Dean and let the rest walk. Resigning Dean plus drafting mainly defense will give the Bucs enough talent to at least win the division. 


This strategy of team building is going away with the patience of owners. Most teams aren’t given a long enough leash to complete a full rebuild, but teams like the Lions and Eagles are reaping the benefits from it. 

In this scenario, the Buccaneers would be open to any calls for any player not named, Mike Evans or Tristan Wirfs. Everyone else is fair game. I want to avoid speculating who could be traded and what the package would look like, but the Bucs would be asking for just picks to build a new young core. 

Just like in life, starting over from scratch may be hard, but if given time it can definitely work.

What Not To Do 

Anything between these two strategies would be drastic for the future of the franchise. The Packers have done this for the past half decade, they wouldn’t rebuild, but instead just become average in what were inevitable wasted seasons without an identity. Now they have to trade their franchise quarterback and start over after a year that was just wasted. Either go all in or all out, don’t half ass a win now window. 

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