Tom Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay has obviously been a success, as he’s led the Buccaneers to their first playoff appearance since 2007 and first NFC championship game since 2002.
Regardless of how this playoff run ends, though, it will be an interesting offseason for the Bucs. Brady is under contract for another season, but several other key contributors are set to become free agents, including wide receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, linebackers Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
The Bucs are projected to have about $30 million in cap space, so they’re in pretty good shape for the most part, but they’ll still likely need to free up more in order to keep as many of those players as possible.
One way to do that may be something Patriots fans are familiar with: Brady reworking his deal with an extension that would lower his cap hit -- currently set to be $27.375 million -- for next season.
Appearing on The Greg Hill Show Tuesday morning, CBS analyst and WFAN host Boomer Esiason said the Bucs would be wise to try to get Brady to do exactly that.
“As long as he doesn’t get hurt, and if the Bucs are smart, they would give him an extension to reduce the cap hit for next year so they can keep some of these players,” Esiason said. “He has a lot of good players around him. They drafted Tristan Wirfs in the first round at tackle. They’ll most likely move him to left tackle next season, because he’s been really good at right tackle this season. As long as they can keep the running backs, Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette.
“He’s got a lot of really good players around him. If he can keep the group around him with the salary cap going down, and Tom has had a history of being able to do that and taking less money. I don’t know if he will, but I think it would be smart. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some sort of, maybe a one-year extension that would just lessen the cap hit for Tampa next year so they can keep some of these players.”