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Bucs’ big contracts are cash-flow friendly

AFC's Jackson of San Diego Chargers runs with the ball as NFC's Peterson of Arizona Cardinals tackles him during their NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu Reuters

The Buccaneers traditionally have avoided making big splashes in free agency because they either can’t or won’t spend huge dollars in the offseason, when the revenue is low.  And so, as they did when signing tight end Kellen Winslow to a new deal a few years back, the guaranteed money typically is paid through something other than a signing bonus.

They’ve followed that approach with their three significant free-agency deals in 2012.

As explained Tuesday night, receiver Vincent Jackson (pictured) received no signing bonus.  His fully guaranteed money comes from $25 million in guaranteed base salaries and a $2 million roster bonus.  Since base salaries are paid during the season, the Bucs will be writing the checks to Jackson as the cash is coming in.

Ditto for cornerback Eric Wright.  Per a league source, Wright received no signing bonus and no roster bonus.  His guaranteed cash comes from two years of fully guaranteed salary:  $7.75 million in 2012 and $7.75 million in 2013.  (That’s a total of $15.5 million guaranteed on a five-year, $38 million deal.)

Finally, guard Carl Nicks received no signing bonus.  He gets $25 million fully guaranteed and $6 million guaranteed for injury only, via base salaries and roster bonuses.

The approach also reflects a pay-as-you-go salary cap approach, which works well for a team like the Bucs, who have plenty of cap space that otherwise wasn’t going anywhere.

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17 Responses to “Bucs’ big contracts are cash-flow friendly”
  1. jdandcoke says: Mar 14, 2012 3:12 PM

    they still arent ready to take down the saints. they better hope freeman takes a step forward instead of another step backwards.

  2. conormacleod says: Mar 14, 2012 3:13 PM

    So, they have no cash available in the winter months? This just seems weird. Seems like they are post dating checks. “We’ll sign you, but don’t cash this check until September”.

  3. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 14, 2012 3:17 PM

    Insert bucs fan crying about owners here.

  4. Mary Jane says: Mar 14, 2012 3:27 PM

    It is amazing to me that the Bucs owners (don’t they also own Manchester United?) have a cash problem.

  5. shian11 says: Mar 14, 2012 3:31 PM

    What a awful explanation since it is missing 1 huge factor. The main reason the Bucs are not doing signing bonuses is because a signing bonus is used to circumvent the cap. A signing bonus cap $ is spread over the length of the deal and. Of just the 1st year or also termed as back loading the deal which can be a cap killer! I.e. Pittsburgh, raiders. This is smart business because the Bucs will still be able to sign free agents and ther own players in 3 years.

  6. mikebe1 says: Mar 14, 2012 3:38 PM

    No signing bonus?? Where they do that at?

  7. fitzmagicformvp says: Mar 14, 2012 3:47 PM

    I dont mind this strategy that Tampa uses….
    Buffalo does that same sorta cash to cap strategy and they never have any issues with being over the cap or cutting players to free up space!!!

    Watch out NFL…

    Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo Bills SUPER BOWL!!!!

  8. buc1 says: Mar 14, 2012 3:50 PM

    Remember you’re dealing with the Glazers and there is only 1 reason they would want to do this…to make more money!!! By not giving the money up front they can put it to use in other investments and make interest on the player’s money until it has to be paid out.

  9. onebucplace says: Mar 14, 2012 3:51 PM

    This doesn’t have to mean it’s a cashflow issue — it’s also a much wiser use of the cap. So instead of giving Jackson a $18-million signing bonus spread of 5 years you provide the money up front and take the hit now so you don’t have millions of dead salary down the road if the player doesn’t finish out his contract. If you can afford the upfront cost in terms of cap room this is a much better way to sign players since it doesn’t mortgage your future with millions in dead salary.

    Also to the morons who say this saves money so somehow the Bucs are being cheap, contracts like this often end up costing more over the first year or two of the contract. For example if Jackson got say an $18-mil bonus his first and second year salarys would probably be around 3-4mil, working out to maybe $22-23 million total in that same time frame.

  10. azheat says: Mar 14, 2012 3:52 PM

    @fitzmagicformvp

    You just talked about 2 teams that dont have cap issues, Tampa and Buffalo.

    They dont have cap issues BECAUSE they havn’t signed any BIG TIME free agent’s before this season…

  11. conormacleod says: Mar 14, 2012 4:02 PM

    Buffalo and Tampa also haven’t won in ages. Anybody else going to copy this formula?

  12. chargerzz says: Mar 14, 2012 4:18 PM

    Bucs still will not make playoffs in that packed division

  13. denverwally says: Mar 14, 2012 4:27 PM

    Yes, Tampa vs Buffalo in the Super Bowl. Because as the Redskins have proven over the past 10 years, you win the Super Bowl in April with all the big name signings.

  14. yogikenobi says: Mar 14, 2012 4:56 PM

    I thought any guaranteed money was treated as signing bonus-spread over the life of the contract.

  15. robatopia says: Mar 14, 2012 4:57 PM

    This actually could be effective for managing player motivation in two ways:
    1. Salary is in play for suspensions while signing bonuses aren’t. When half of a multi-year contract is a signing bonus, missing a few weekly game checks isn’t very consequential.
    2. Waaa, I’m only making 1M this year, even though I signed a deal last year that included a 20M signing bonus.

  16. pb420 says: Mar 14, 2012 5:08 PM

    nyyjetsknicks says:
    Mar 14, 2012 3:17 PM
    Insert bucs fan crying about owners here.

    —————————————————

    Jets fan insert foot into Rex Ryan’s mouth here.

  17. tropboi11 says: Mar 14, 2012 6:29 PM

    Conormacleod? The only teams to win a super bowl since the Bucs are the Giants, Packers, Saints, Colts, Steelers and Patriots which are all still at the top of their game besides the Colts, unless you are a fan of one of those teams what do you have to brag about?

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