The Buccaneers lost a pair of defensive linemen to knee injuries during the 2016 season and they’ve opted to tender a 2017 contract to only one of them.
The low tender carries a salary of just under $1.8 million and would allow a team to sign Smith away without draft pick compensation as he entered the league as an undrafted free agent. Smith had 13.5 sacks in his first two seasons and that price might not dissuade teams looking for a little help on their defensive line, but the knee injury might be enough to keep other suitors at bay.
The team opted not to tender defensive end Howard Jones as an exclusive rights free agent. Jones had five sacks as a rookie in 2015, but didn’t have any in 2016 before hurting his knee so he’ll be hoping things can only get better in terms of his health and production this year.