By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports writer
So many big decisions, a lot of cap space but not enough big money to go around to all the big names that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to make important decisions on this off-season.
The Buccaneers enter the off-season with $81,507,284 of cap space available to them at their disposal and they have some huge decisions to make in regards to major playmakers on the team. Pro Bowl linebacker Shaq Barrett racked up 19.5 sacks and is an obvious choice when it comes to bringing a player back to the team.
What becomes more of the question is how Tampa Bay goes about retaining Barrett, whether that’s on a long term deal or one of the tags they can apply to him. Another player they have to make a decision on is quarterback Jameis Winston, who is coming off one of the most polarizing seasons in NFL history.
Winston became the first quarterback to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season, but also became the first Buccaneers’ quarterback to ever throw for more than 5,000 yards in a campaign. The decision to reward Winston with a long-term deal is still all up in the air, but there will be options if Tampa Bay decides to move away.
A report this week that has come out is the Los Angeles Chargers are parting ways with longtime starter Phillip Rivers and he has been rumored to be possibly joining the Buccaneers. There are numerous other options at the quarterback position as well, with New Orleans’ quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to New England’s Tom Brady, the free agent possibilities are out there.
Tampa Bay has also made it known that they plan on resigning star wide receiver Chris Godwin to a long-term deal. Amongst others, the team has to make decisions on are linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
There’s many players that the Buccaneers have to decide whether to keep long term or not and with just above $81,000,000 in cap room, the space is there but not enough to go around for all the possible unrestricted free agents. March 1st begins the new league year and that’s when decisions will become public.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.