It appears left tackle Donovan Smith will be staying in Tampa for the 2019 season one way or another.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Buccaneers are expected to use the franchise tag on Smith before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline to put it in place. The tag comes with a salary of $14.067 million should Smith sign it and play out the year under those terms.
Stroud adds that talks about a longer deal have been going well and that an agreement could come at some point after the deadline. The two sides would have until July 15 to work out a multi-year deal if the tag is in place.
Smith has started all 64 games the Bucs have played since selecting him in the second round of the 2015 draft. He ranked No. 25 on PFT’s list of the top 100 free agents and taking him off the market would leave Trent Brown, Ja'Wuan James and Daryl Williams as the top impending free agent tackles.