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Slight bump in 2013 cap gives Bucs big role in free agency

Posted Mar 7, 2013 by Roy Cummings

Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 06:48 PM

Tribune Staff

TAMPA – When the NFL revealed a few weeks ago that the Buccaneers would begin free agency with $30.1 million worth of cap space, the figure was based on a projected 2013 salary cap of $120.6 million.

Well, the salary cap for 2013 is no longer a projected figure. It has officially been set at $123 million, which means the Bucs will actually have $32.5 million worth of cap space to work with when the market opens.

Or will they? If you subtract the roughly $5.5 million the Bucs will need to pay their rookies – and you should because the Bucs are – then their available cap space drops to $27 million.

That’s still a crazy number and it could get crazier, because the likely release of linebacker Quincy Black and the possible release of cornerback Eric Wright could add another $13 million to it.

There is a chance then that the Bucs will actually have about $40 million worth of cap space to play with this spring and you can bet that will make them a prime target for players looking for big pay days.

So don’t be surprised if you hear about a lot of players expressing interest in joining the Bucs. With so much money they could be a player for just about anyone and agents will use that to increase their client’s value.

The key will be determining who the Bucs are actually pursuing and who is simply saying the Bucs are pursuing them in an effort to squeeze a few more dollars out of a real suitor.

It’s all part of the free agency game and once again this year, whether they prove to be big spenders in the marketplace or not, the Bucs will be one of its most impactful players.

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