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.