A Key Piece
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jason Licht traded for Jason Pierre-Paul in 2018 using a third-round pick to lure the New York Giants into sending him to Tampa. Subsequently, he quickly stepped in and became a prominent contributor for the team. Pierre-Paul was the most disruptive player on a putrid Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense last year. He played in all 16 games and was on the field for 89% of the defensive snaps. Subsequently, he amassed 12.5 sacks, 58 tackles, and a forced fumble. Furthermore, in 2019 Pierre-Paul looked to be a centerpiece on a new look defense, anchoring the defensive line.
It was reported that Pierre-Paul had been involved in a single-car accident over the weekend and was promptly released from the hospital. The first reports had Buccaneers fans holding their breath. Additionally, the reports of his release had fans sighing with relief. It seems that their relief was short lived due to reports that Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck. An injury that may need surgery and sideline him for the season. He is currently seeking a second opinion and fans are crossing their fingers.
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Sometimes a Problem Creates a Solution
The Buccaneers still have cap issues. The team can’t sign their own draft picks and there is strife brewing between the Buccaneers and Gerald McCoy. Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Pierre-Paul’s accident and injury, it may have provided the Buccaneers with another option to solve two others.
Releasing Pierre-Paul with an injury settlement may give the Buccaneers the cap space needed to sign draft picks and keep McCoy.
Pierre-Paul is due a base salary of $13.65 million this season. He also has a roster bonus of one million dollars and a workout bonus of $250,000, for a total of $14.9 million cap hit this season. Also, on March 17th of this year, $7.5 million became fully guaranteed. That’s a hefty amount of dead money and a problem.
The $7.4 million in savings could go a long way towards signing draft prospects and keeping McCoy. It would also clear the $12.5 million he is owed in the 2020 season and I highly doubt that the Buccaneers would resign him after 2020 anyway.
A problem may have just become a building block to fixing two others. Whatever the Buccaneers do, they now have an additional problem after not prioritizing the edge position in the draft. Can they right the listing ship?