We’ve looked forward to the five positions that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers must address this offseason. The question now becomes, which players on the current roster should the team move on from this coming offseason? It may be due to a lack of productivity or simply the fact that their cap number is too high, but regardless, the five names below are all prime candidates to no longer be in Tampa Bay after this offseason.
1. Vincent Jackson
Say hello to the definition of an unfortunate cap casualty. While Jackson showed at times in 2015 that he can still play at a high level, it just wasn’t enough to justify his contract. Not only did he deal with injuries, resulting in him missing six games, but he caught just 33 balls for 543 yards and three touchdowns. This means that over the past two years he’s had five total touchdowns, which is obviously below expectation.
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The real issue? Jackson being cut this offseason results in the freeing up $9,777,778 in cap space, while getting hit with $2,432,000 in dead money. It’s just too much cap space to free up to justify keeping Jackson at this price. While Kenny Bell from Nebraska missed his rookie season, he has tremendous upside and could be a much cheaper option offensively. Even if the Buccaneers choose not to go that route, there are plenty of options in the draft and free agency.
2. Bruce Carter
Fans were hoping that the 27-year-old linebacker would be able to come in and be a force next to Lavonte David. While the Buccaneers were fortunate enough to find a stud linebacker to pair up with David, it wasn’t Carter. Instead, it was rookie Kwon Alexander, which in turn, makes Carter’s cost unjustifiable. Through 14 games in 2015, Carter totaled 47 combined tackles with two sacks and two passes defensed.
From a contract perspective, Carter is a prime example of a player who leaves the team no decision but to part ways with him. Not only would cutting him hit the Bucs with no dead money, but it would free up $4,250,000 in cap space as well. Simply a business decision and a situation where Carter’s contract is far too much to pay a backup.
Bruce Carter was beaten out by rookie Kwon Alexander in 2015.
3. Evan Dietrich-Smith
While Dietrich-Smith was expected to be the man at center for the Buccaneers, he was actually out-produced by former Atlanta Falcons center Joe Hawley. In turn, it would make little sense for the team to keep both players, and Dietrich-Smith’s contract works out in a very similar way to Carter’s. As you can see below, parting ways with Dietrich-Smith again leaves Tampa Bay with no dead money and frees up $2,500,000 in cap space.
4. Brandon Myers
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Luke Stocker and Cameron Brate all on the roster, having a fourth tight end wouldn’t make much sense, especially at what Myers costs. Myers, who is 30, caught just 12 passes for 127 yards all season, and is due $1,916,668 next season, but if he’s cut, it will save the team $1,750,000 in cap space, while leaving them with just $166,668 in dead money. Myers may be talented still, but the veteran tight end just has too much competition and his cap number is far too high to justify.
5. Henry Melton
Melton is already set to become a free agent, but he’ll be a player that the Buccaneers are going to have little interest in bringing back to town. Not only did he have a big contract number of $3,750,000 âlast season, but he didn’t live up to it either. Melton totaled 30 combined tackles, with two sacks, two fumble recoveries, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. It was a "prove-it" type of year for Melton with the chance to get a deal this offseason from the Buccaneers, but it’s likely that he’ll now be looking elsewhere for another shot.
Jeff Smith writes about the NFL for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @JSM8ith.