With significant roster moves set to be made in Tampa here are some names the Buccaneers should move on this off-season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a brand new coaching staff for 2019. This change will assuredly influence a significant roster overhaul. The new staff will want to bring in players who best align with their interests.
The team will be looking to upgrade at a number of positions this off-season.
The Buccaneers have just over $12 million in cap space, according to spotrac.com. A good amount of this money will have to be allocated to re-signing some of their internal free agents as well as signing this year’s draft class.
If the team wants to make changes in free agency, they will need to release some players currently under contract to create cap flexibility.
Here’s a look at the three players the Bucs can afford to let go this off-season.
WR DeSean Jackson:
Jackson is entering his 12th season in the NFL at 32 years old. Even in the back end of his carer, he is still capable of stretching a defense with his elite speed. However, Jackson expressed his unhappiness and displeasure with the team on multiple occasions in 2018.
New head coach Bruce Arians has expressed interest in reaching out to Jackson to see if he wants to stay with the team now that changes to the coaching staff have taken place. However, it does not appear Jackson has made an effort to communicate with Arians.
If the Buccaneers and Jackson ultimately decide to part ways, the ideal scenario would be some sort of return for him in a trade. If a trade fails to materialize, however, Jackson and his $10 million cap hit for 2019—sixth highest on the team—should be among the first players released this off-season.
TE Cameron Brate:
Cameron Brate is arguably the Bucs best red zone threat. 20 of his 23 touchdowns since 2015 have come from inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
However, his efficiency has declined each year since, with a career-worst 61.3 percent of his targets being completed in 2018. The only other player with at least 10 receptions who was less efficient per target was DeSean Jackson (55.3%).
The emergence of O.J. Howard makes Brate expendable at this point. Entering his third season Howard has proven he could become one of the game’s best tight ends.
Even more, telling is that Arian’s offenses in Arizona never featured a tight end who recorded at least 40 receptions in a season. While this may have been due to a lack of talent at the position during his five-year tenure with the team, his offenses primarily focused on the wide receivers in the passing game.
While Arians could find a significant role for a player as talented as Howard in his offense, it would be a stretch to believe he could find a place for two receiving tight ends.
Arians has entertained this notion this season to some degree. However, given that Brate’s 2019 cap hit is seven million, it would be best to keep what’s left on the contract to fill some of the holes on the roster.
DT Mitch Urein:
Unrein signed with the Buccaneers last off-season to further solidify what the Bucs hoped to be an improved defensive line.
However, he sustained a concussion in training camp and was unable to play a single down in 2018.
Per spotrac.com, Unrein is due a one million roster bonus on March 17. Releasing him before that date will save the team $3.75 million to use on a younger and healthier player.
While Unrein has experience is a 3-4 defense had has a reputation of being effective against the run, he will be 32 years old this season and will have to find a place in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defensive line rotation. There are too many detractors to overcome for Unrein and his tenure with the Bucs.