Lovie Smith makes sure his big men — players on the offensive and defensive lines — sit in first class on the team charter while flying to games. But it doesn't mean he's not looking for more economy from those positions. With the new league year approaching March 11, the Bucs are completing their evaluations and Smith has determined the offensive line was overpaid and it underperformed. Tampa Bay ranked last in total offense and was 30th in points. Change is inevitable, and with cuts looming throughout the NFL, some Bucs offensive linemen could be asked to take pay cuts — or will be released — as part of a cost-cutting move. "Part of our evaluation, yeah, money does come into play," Smith said. "But it's the play of our group that wasn't good enough. We say we're evaluating it. We are. But you have to first compare it with the first step — free agency — what's out there, whether we have a legitimate shot with certain guys. I'll just say we need to upgrade our offensive line play." That's not the only place where the Bucs might have a new face or two. Tampa Bay has $114.2 million committed to a salary cap that is expected to be about $133 million. The projected $18.8 million of salary cap room to sign free agents could grow much larger with several high-priced players expected to be either released or have their contracts restructured. With only five selections entering the draft — tied for the second-fewest in the league — the Bucs will have to be very active during free agency to fill holes.
Bucs might look here for salary cap savings
Tampa Bay Times | Mar 4