With the 2021 NFL Draft finally set to begin tonight (April 29), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to ensure they do not go over the salary cap limit set by the NFL while drafting in players.
The Bucs are the reigning Super Bowl champions and, as such, aren't up on the board until the very last pick of the first round (No.32). But even so, rookie talent doesn't come cheap, and NFL officials will be keeping a close eye on Tampa Bay's financials.
Coach Bruce Arians and owners the Glazer family have done a tremendous job of retaining all the staples of last year's Lombardi-winning roster. The likes of RB Leonard Fournette, TE Rob Gronkowski, LB Lavonte David and most recently WR Antonio Brown have all penned extensions to keep them in the Bay area for another season. I've been watching football for almost 25 years and never has a team -- to my memory -- been able to retain such a plethora of talent after winning the Super Bowl.
Even so, the Bucs will be hoping to buttress one of the best rosters ever seen in football further into tonight's draft (I know, I'm scared, too).
That being said, as with all NFL teams, the Bucs need to ensure they stay under the cap. Failure to comply with the NFL's regulations could lead to financial penalties and even worse: the loss of draft picks at future events.
With the new season set to get underway on September 9, Bruce Arians' swashbuckling, championship-winning Buccaneers must ensure they stay under (or get back under) the $182.5 million salary cap limit.
How much cap space do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ahead of the 2021 NFL season?
According to Sptrac.com, as of April 28 (the day before the 2021 NFL Draft), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have -$5,476,230 of available cap room. That comes after the Bucs resigned WR Antonio Brown to a one-year contract worth up to an estimated $6,250,000 yesterday afternoon. However, the Bucs are expected to make it back under the cap by the time they announce their completed 51-man roster before the autumn kick-off (+$4,127,620).
All this really means is that it's unlikely the Bucs will do any more business in the free agency market; not unless they are willing to release/trade players first. The Bucs shouldn't have any issues signing up new rookie talent in tonight's draft.
Who is the highest-paid Tampa Bay Buccaneers player in 2021?
The highest-paid player on the Buccaneers roster is WR Mike Evans, who carries a cap hit of $16,637,500. Evans is set to earn a base salary of $12,250,000 and a prorated bonus of $4,387,500 in 2021.