Change was last year’s big political theme, and it promises to be this year’s big theme in Tampa Bay.
Each of the Buccaneers’ top two quarterbacks, Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown, are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Each of their top two wide receivers, Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton, are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents. Their top receiving tight end, Jerramy Stevens, is scheduled to be a free agent.
And not only won’t some of those players return to Tampa Bay, but plenty of new players will come in.
Heading into the offseason, NFL Players Association records show that the Buccaneers are now $45 million under the salary cap. Forty-five million! That number is expected to increase once salary-cap adjustments are made and more fat is trimmed from the roster.
Tampa Bay will have the ability and flexibility to sign whatever free agents it wants. But it also will have plenty of players to replace.