Once again Mark Dominik is making moves to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the future. It was just announced that he has restructured the deals of Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks to shift money to hit on this year’s cap.
This will free up about $18 million in cap space for the 2013 season, leaving the Buccaneers with $98 million of designated cap space on the books for next year. There is a good chance that even more money could be cleared if they choose to renegotiate Eric Wright’s deal, as his suspension voided out the commitment for $7.5 million next year.
While I think the Bucs will keep Wright on the roster with the problems they’ve had at corner, Dominik will most likely make it a more cap friendly contract. How Wright plays in this final game will be a big part into what the Buccaneers want to do with him.
Another player that could be restructured is Quincy Black. His contract is now not guaranteed, and while he was playing the best football of his career before the tragic neck injury, $6 million a year for a two down linebacker is just too much.
When the offseason comes I think the first thing that gets done is the re-signing of Michael Bennett. He is playing on a restricted free agent tender this year and the Buccaneers best pass rusher. While he disappears at times rushing the passer he is one of the best in the league at stopping the run. You just don’t let pass rushers entering their prime hit the free agent market.
Two other players the Buccaneers could resign this year are Josh Freeman and Mike Williams. Freeman has come under a lot of scrutiny the past couple weeks, but Dominik could get him extended for less than elite money with performance escalators. Williams has well exceeded his rookie contract and getting him locked up should be a no brainer.
With all those moves and money set aside for the new rookie salaries, the Buccaneers could still once again be big players in free agency. Expect them to look hard for another cornerback, both Mike Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie contracts are expiring and are two players the Buccaneers were rumored to like during that 2008 draft when they selected Aqib Talib with the 20th pick that year.
Aside from cornerback the Buccaneers could use a tight end to really open the offense up. Dallas Clark has been alright, but was never known as a run blocker. Martellus Bennett would be a nice addition and the perk of playing with his brother could make him very attainable. If Bennett isn’t the guy they look at Jermichael Finley and Jared Cook would be other great options.
Defensively they might look to add an established pass rusher and Cliff Avril would make a ton of sense here. He wants big money but has the production to back it up. He’s unlike any pass rusher the Buccaneers have, and signing him with a cornerback would leave the Bucs the option to draft the best player available when their pick comes up in April.
It looks like this might be a make or break year for Dominik to get the right players to make the playoffs in 2013. He is at least already taken action to be prepared for the coming offseason.