Updates from January 30th
The Buccaneers still have some salary caps to manage before the NFL's new league year begins March 15. On Monday they were informed of the exact goal for this work.
As reported on NFL.com, teams were informed by the league on Monday that the salary cap for 2023 would be $224.8 million per team. Teams must meet this number by the start of the new league year.According to Spotrac, the Buccaneers' existing 2023 player contracts plus accelerated cap hits (dead money) on some expiring contracts put the Bucs about $56 million over that target. Teams expected to be above the cap generally become compliant through a combination of contract restructuring, contract extensions, and released players.
The information shared by the league on Monday came as no surprise, as projections for the 2023 cap were in the $225 million range. The exact number is a jump of $16.6 million from its 2022 cap of $208.2 million, an increase of nearly 8% year over year.
The Bucs' efforts to get below the cap may be complicated by a long list of pending free agents from their own roster. This list includes Tom Brady, Lavonte David, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Edwards and Anthony Nelson.
Updates from January 27th
The Buccaneers began searching for a new offensive coordinator in the last full week of January, interviewing a quartet of candidates. Denver Broncos passing game coordinator & quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak was the first to visit the AdventHealth Training Center on Wednesday, followed by Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell and Jacksonville Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter on Thursday. On Friday, the Buccaneers also interviewed Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher, although this was only conducted virtually as the Bengals prepare to play in the AFC Championship Game. The Bucs' interview process is expected to resume next week.
The Buccaneers have a vacancy at the OC position after parting ways with Byron Leftwich on Jan. 19. Leftwich has held that post for the past four seasons. The Buccaneers will also hire several other new assistants, including a running backs coach, a wide receivers coach and a quarterbacks coach.
CLICK HEREfor more about Jim Bob Cooter,HEREfor more about Keenan McCardell,HEREfor more about Klint Kubiak andHEREfor more about Dan Pitcher.
Updates from January 23rd
After Monday's addition of tight end Dominique Dafney, the Buccaneers have now signed a total of 16 players to reserve/futures contracts for the 2023 season. These offers come into effect when the new league year begins on March 15th. Most of these are actually validsignings, as 14 of the 16 at the end of the season were either on the team's practice squad or were cut just before the final game. The two newcomers are Dafney and tackle Michael Niese.
These additions have brought the number of players signed with the Buccaneers to just 50 for 2023. The off-season squad limit is 90 players. The Buccaneers have a long list of pending free agents in the coming weeks, including Tom Brady, Lavonte David, Anthony Nelson, Jamel Dean, Mike Edwards and Sean Murphy-Bunting.
CLICK HEREto learn more about the team's latest futures signing.
Updates from January 18th
The Buccaneers added two more players to their growing list of 2023 reserves/futures signings Wednesday, which includes inside linebacker J.J. Russell and brings in Michael Niese. The team began fleshing out its 2023 off-season roster on Tuesday, with 13 more players inking futures deals; All 13 were players whose contracts on the practice team expired at the end of the season.
Russell, who spent most of the season on the Bucs practice team prior to his promotion in December, was left out of the roster altogether by the end of the season after being fired to make room for center Ryan Jensen to be activated from injured reserve create. Niese spent most of his rookie season on the Chicago Bears practice team, having originally signed with the Broncos in May as an undrafted free agent from Temple.
CLICK HEREto learn more about the Bucs' signings in 2023.
Updates from January 17th
Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage appears to have avoided a serious injury after a scary moment late Monday night in the wild card loss to Dallas. Gage was taken off the field on a stabilization board and trolley and later taken to a nearby hospital after being hit on an incomplete pass left him on the turf and struggling to get up. On Tuesday afternoon, head coach Todd Bowles gave a very welcome update on Gage's status.
"Yeah, he just has a concussion," Bowles said. "He was due to be released later this afternoon. His neck is fine and all his extremities are moving at the moment.”
A concussion is obviously a serious injury, but Gage's short stay in hospital is still a relief to the entire team.
Updates from January 14th
It seems highly likely that the Buccaneers will have their two offensive starting tackles back for Monday night's wild-card playoff game against Dallas, given that Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfs have been practicing unrestrictedly this week. However, it's far less certain who will hold the middle of that line.
Starting center Robert Hainsey was restricted during the week of practice with a hamstring strain, and left starting guard Nick Leverett - who is also Hainsey's primary backup at pivot - was downgraded from restricted participation to non-participation on Thursday due to knee and shoulder complaints. Additionally, John Molchon, another option in both guard and center, is struggling with an ankle injury. Then there's Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who hasn't played in training camp this season with a knee injury but could potentially be activated from injured reserve ahead of Monday's game.
The Buccaneers don't expect concrete answers to their guard and center spots until Monday.
"We didn't exclude anyone," head coach Todd Bowles said after the Bucs' last practice session of the week on Saturday. “Anyone is available. We'll see who is the healthiest and we'll talk about it and make that decision. They're all sore. You have two days left, two and a half days left. We "We're going to give them time and we're probably going to make that decision on the day of the game."
Updates from January 12th
The Buccaneers' first injury report during Wild Card Week was as encouraging as expected, and that's especially true on the offensive line.
Left tackle Donovan Smith and right tackle Tristan Wirfs both sat out the regular-season finals with foot and ankle problems, respectively. At the first full-throttle training of the week on Thursday, however, both were fully involved. In fact, Wirfs didn't even appear on the injury report. Wirfs, who was active but didn't play in Week 18 in Atlanta, clearly saw the benefits of an extra week of rest. And Smith, who also missed the Bucs' Week 16 game in Arizona with the same injury, has improved significantly.
"He's feeling better," said head coach Todd Bowles. "He feels a lot better."
The Bucs have some concerns down the middle of the line as center Robert Hainsey (hamstring), guard Nick Leverett (knee/shoulder) and guard John Molchon (ankle) were all restricted Thursday. Leverett and Molchon are the Bucs' other main options at center if Hainsey is unable to play on Monday.
CLICK HEREfor a more detailed look at Thursday's Bucs injury report.
The Buccaneers, who sidelined nine players in Week 18 due to injury or illness, are optimistic they will be closer to full strength for Monday night's playoff game against the Cowboys. In some cases, the team is still playing a waiting game, expecting a better sense of who will be available by the end of the week. However, there is no question about the availability of cornerback Carlton Davis, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury.
"He's ready to go," Davis head coach Todd Bowles said after Thursday's practice session.
The Buccaneers will release their first injury report of Wild Card Week later Thursday afternoon, but Bowles hinted that starting center Robert Hainsey was limited in practice due to the hamstring injury he sustained in Atlanta last Sunday. Leverett, who moved up the middle following Hainsey's injury, would likely be the first choice to fill in on Monday as well, but he's also struggling with a sore leg. For both players, Bowles said it's all about waiting to see how they feel in a couple of days.
Ryan Jensen, the Bucs Pro Bowl center who missed all season with a knee injury, has continued training with the team during a 21-day window since he was due to return from injured reserve. Given the other injuries at the position, Jensen's return would be impeccable timing, but Bowles says his situation hasn't changed since last week.
"We'll see how he's doing at the end of the week," Bowles said. “He's coming, he's training hard so we'll see where he is. He has to pass some tests.”
Defensive lineman Vita Vea, who has been battling a calf injury for about a month, played in the Bucs' win over Carolina in Week 17 but was held out last Sunday. He was able to take part in training on Thursday.
"He came out and did some stuff," Bowles said. "He's coming. We'll continue throughout the week."
Updates from January 11th
Because their typical training schedule leading up to a Monday night game was pushed back a day, the Buccaneers held a bonus walk-through on Wednesday. They only have to release their first injury report after Thursday's training session, but it seems like this list will be less disheartening than it has been in recent weeks. Or maybe the whole season.
The Bucs had eight players who were inactive or out of their Week 18 game against Atlanta through injury: Vita Vea, Donovan Smith, Tristan Wirfs, Carlton Davis, Mike Edwards, Logan Ryan, Carl Nassib and Julio Jones. Mike Evans also sat out the game due to illness. It is possible that all or most of these players will attend practice on Thursday.
"Look," offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said Wednesday. "This is probably the healthiest thing we've experienced since OTAs. We were locked into OTAs. So it's good to have our guys out there.”
Leftwich's assessment echoed Tom Brady's words on his Let's Go podcast on Monday. "I think we'll be as healthy as we've been all year," he said. Linebacker Lavonte David also noted after Wednesday's walk-through that it's good to have most of the team's regular defenders back on the field together.
Updates from January 9th
Center Robert Hainsey left Sunday's game in Atlanta with a hamstring injury, creating uncertainty in the Buccaneers' O-Line lineup for the start of the playoffs. On Monday, head coach Todd Bowles said Hainsey's hamstring is "sore" and that he hasn't had an MRI yet but could get one if it proves problematic enough.
The possibility of Hainsey being unavailable for Monday's playoff opener against Dallas led unsurprisingly to Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who has not played since suffering a knee injury on day two of training camp. Jensen was drafted on Wednesday, January 28 to return from injured reserve and has been training with the team ever since. This appointment opened a 21-day window in which Jensen can be added back to the active squad at any time; If that doesn't happen during that window, he would be returned to injured reserve and would be done for the season. The Bucs have until next Tuesday to make that decision, so Jensen doesn't need to be activated before Monday's game.
"The window is starting to close this week, so we'll see where we're at," Bowles said, although he didn't predict one way or another if Jensen might return this early this week. “I'll give you the same answer I gave you last week: status quo. He works hard and we like to see him out there, but we'll see."
The Buccaneers will hold an additional walk-through on Wednesday and then begin their usual training schedule on Thursday.
CLICK HEREto hear more from Coach Bowles in his press conference the day after the game.
Updates from January 5th
Wide receiver Chris Godwin is nearing 100 catches this season, making him the second player in franchise history to reach that mark. Through 16 games, Godwin ranks third in the NFL with 7.0 receptions per game.
"He should get that," Godwin's teammate Mike Evans said appreciatively. "He deserved it. He should get all that. He's a damn good player. He should be comeback player of the year. I don't know who's in the running but he came back from injury."latein the season last year and he's still one of our best players."
As Evans notes, Godwin has 98 catches for 968 yards and three touchdowns despite suffering a serious knee injury in mid-December of the 2021 season. Godwin surprised many by recovering quickly enough to start the first game of the season, and although a hamstring injury cost him the next two games, he came out of that absence better than ever. Since then, he has caught at least five passes in every game, a 13-game streak that is the longest for any player in the NFL this season.
The NFL's annual Comeback Player of the Year award is designed to honor a player who has shown perseverance in overcoming adversity, often in the form of returning from a serious injury and playing at a high level. Last year it went to Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, who led the Bengals to the Super Bowl a year after his rookie season ended prematurely with a knee injury.
CLICK HEREfor more thoughts from Mike Evans.
January 4th updates
Head coach Todd Bowles plans to face off against his healthy starters in Atlanta on Sunday, although the outcome of the game won't affect playoff standings. That doesn't mean every starter will necessarily do thisFinishedthe game.
On Monday, Bowles confirmed Tom Brady will start in Week 18 but left the door open to potentially replacing him at some point. There's even a chance that sophomore Kyle Trask could see his first NFL regular season action. Bowles hinted that Trask "has a good chance of getting dressed" instead of being placed on the game-day inactive list as usual, but that veteran Blaine Gabbert would remain in the number two role.
"If Tom comes out, Blaine would go after him," Bowles said. "And when Blaine comes out, Trask will go after him."
Trask, a second-round draft pick in 2021, was inactive in all but one game of his first two seasons. He was active against Baltimore in week eight of that season when the Bucs had seven injured players on the active list, but he did not play in the game. In two preseason stints, he has completed six games and completed 72 of 122 passes for 769 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.