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Monday, February 27, 2012
Buccaneers: Who's on the hot seat?

By Pat Yasinskas

As we get closer to the start of free agency on March 13, we’re going to see some cap casualties around the NFL. Teams have to be under the cap by the start of free agency and that means we’ll see some big names getting released.

We’re going to take a look at possible cap casualties for each NFC South team and we’ll start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs are in a unique position because they really don’t have to cut anyone to get under the cap. They already are projected to be about $68 million under the cap. They may not release any veterans, but I’m looking at their roster and a list of 2012 cap figures and I see at least two players who might be considered for release due to age and production.

Tight end Kellen Winslow is scheduled to count $4.8 million against the cap, and because his deal was front loaded, the Bucs could clear that whole $4.8 million if they released Winslow. He’ll turn 29 in July and he’s had chronic knee problems. Although Winslow did miss a fair amount of practice time last season, he did appear in all 16 games. He caught 75 passes, but only two of them went for touchdowns and he had some drops. With a new coaching staff coming in, it’s at least possible the Bucs could look to go in a different direction at tight end.

Center Jeff Faine will turn 31 in April. He’s missed at least one game with an injury each of the past three years. He’s scheduled to count $5.925 million against the cap. The Bucs would free up $5.725 million against the cap if they release Faine. They would have flexibility there because Jeremy Zuttah can play center as well as guard.