Buccaneers’ GM issues crucial updates amid 2 “Very High Priority” Moves the team must make…

Following the successful re-signings of wide receiver Mike Evans and quarterback Baker Mayfield for the 2024 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has turned his attention to two more critical moves: securing contract extensions for safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Licht discussed these priorities during his recent appearance on “The NFL Report.”

Expressing optimism about Winfield and Wirfs’ potential to have illustrious careers, Licht emphasized the urgency of securing their long-term futures with the Buccaneers. While Winfield was franchise tagged, the team aims to negotiate a long-term deal before the season commences to manage salary cap implications, given that he would cost $17.12 million with the tag. Similarly, Wirfs is approaching the end of his rookie contract, with a fifth-year option worth $18 million this year.

Both Winfield and Wirfs, drafted in the 2020 NFL class, made immediate impacts as starters for the Buccaneers, contributing to the team’s Super Bowl victory in 2020 and remaining key players over the past four seasons. Licht credited the team’s scouting staff for their excellent work during the 2020 draft, which led to the selection of Winfield and Wirfs.

Winfield, a second-round pick from Minnesota, has amassed an impressive array of statistics in his young career, earning him All-Pro and Pro Bowl recognition. Despite only eight missed games, he has demonstrated remarkable consistency and availability.

Wirfs, chosen with the No. 13 pick out of Iowa, has been a linchpin for the Buccaneers’ offensive line, aiding the team through various challenges and positional changes. His switch from right to left tackle proved instrumental in Mayfield’s exceptional performance in 2023, earning Wirfs Pro Bowl honors and All-Pro recognition.

Securing contract extensions for Winfield and Wirfs is crucial for the Buccaneers’ long-term plans, though it comes with significant financial considerations. Winfield’s anticipated market value of $18.4 million annually falls slightly below the league’s highest-paid safeties, while Wirfs could command $25.5 million annually, matching the top-paid tackles in the league.

Despite having limited salary cap space remaining, with $4.41 million left and the draft approaching in April, the Buccaneers are projected to have ample funds for the 2025 season, when wide receiver Chris Godwin will also become a free agent. In navigating these financial challenges, Licht remains committed to securing Winfield and Wirfs’ futures with the team, recognizing their indispensable roles in the Buccaneers’ ongoing success.

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