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Thursday, January 15, 2009
Salary-cap status: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Pat Yasinskas

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are last in our series of updates on the salary-cap status of each of the four NFC South teams.

Keep in mind, these numbers are very much in flux at the moment as teams sign players to future contracts and incentives reached in 2008 haven't been factored in yet. The cap is expected to be $123 million.

Salary-cap status: $40.4 million under the salary cap.

Overview: Throw in the fact that high-priced wide receiver Joey Galloway almost certainly will be released and the Bucs are going to have a ton of salary-cap room. That's the good news. But don't get to excited because Tampa Bay needs a good chunk of that money to keep receiver Antonio Bryant and a few other potential free agents. Still, there's going to be plenty of money for the Bucs to be major players in free agency. But that might not be as encouraging as it sounds for a team that clearly has some holes to fill. Sure, names like Donovan McNabb, Matt Cassel, Albert Haynesworth and Julius Peppers are being thrown around by fans right now. But the reality is that those four players and most big names probably will end up staying with their own teams. The guys who actually do hit the market aren't likely to be nearly as attractive. There's no doubt the Bucs are going to be one of the most aggressive teams in free agency, but they've got to be wise and sort through a class that probably isn't going to be filled with established stars.