Bucs looking wise on Kellen Winslow deal

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
12:45
PM ET
Consider this a sort of follow-up post to the one we had Tuesday on Tampa Bay making a smart salary-cap move when getting rid of a guy that clearly had no future on coach Greg Schiano’s team.

That one was on defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. Before releasing Okoye with a $400,000 injury settlement, the Bucs restructured his contract to wipe out $700,000 in guaranteed base salary and also cut the player a break by eliminating offset language that could have helped the Bucs recoup some of Okoye’s salary when he signed with the Bears. The Bucs simply wanted a problem off their hands and they were able to do it with a relatively minimal cap hit. Okoye will cost them $600,000. He could have cost as much as $2 million.

Now, there’s another former Buc that I’m thinking about. That’s tight end Kellen Winslow. The Bucs traded him to Seattle and lost their chance of getting a draft pick in return when the Seahawks released Winslow. So what, it only would have been a seventh-round choice. The latest on Winslow is that he’s still looking for a team to play for after the New England Patriots showed some interest, but elected not to sign him.

The Bucs didn’t get anything in return for Winslow, but the beauty here is that he’s not costing them a dime in salary-cap space this year. Winslow had been scheduled to make $3.3 million this year under his original Tampa Bay contract, plus he could have earned a lot more incentives. Winslow’s base salary was scheduled to jump to $4.5 million in 2013 and $5.5 million in 2014, and both of those years also included lots of potential incentives.

The Bucs have plenty of cap space this year. But they already have a lot of cap space committed to 2013 and 2014. Winslow and Schiano obviously weren’t going to co-exist in the short term or the long term.

I’ve just checked the salary-cap situation on Winslow and the Bucs. There’s no pro-rated money hanging out there. They’ll never have to take any salary-cap hit for the tight end (although Seattle takes a $500,000 cap hit for a guy that never played a down there). I think you can say this one is a case of no cost, no foul.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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