The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flung open a Super Bowl window this offseason with the arrival of Tom Brady in free agency. Heading into 2020, the Bucs are the sexy pick to not only come out of the NFC, but possibly win Super Bowl LV, which would be Brady's seventh title and his first without Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. To get Brady to Tampa, the Bucs not only needed to show off their roster, but they also need to throw him a bag of money, which they did. The quarterback signed a two-year, $50 million fully guaranteed deal and is now the biggest cap number ($25 million) for the Bucs heading into 2020.
With Brady's large contract at the top of the cap totals, Tampa Bay will need to get value elsewhere on the roster and, luckily for them, they have a number of players on very team-friendly deals. Below, we highlighted the top five biggest bargains for the Bucs in 2020 in terms of each players' salary cap hit. Determining this list was a combination of the players' contributions, how low the cap hit actually is, and projecting what that player will do in 2020 as the Bucs try to win its second Super Bowl in franchise history.
All cap figures are courtesy of Spotrac.
1. WR Chris Godwin
2020 salary cap hit: $2,331,041
This isn't only the biggest bargain on the Buccaneers, but this could be one of the more one-sided deals in the entire NFL (outside of the quarterback position) that leans in favor of the team. Tampa Bay is getting tremendous value in Godwin, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal. Prior to his cap hit jumping to over $2.3 million this season, the receiver's cap charge was minuscule, never topping even $900,000 over the previous three seasons. He's coming off his best season in the NFL, catching 86 balls for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns, which were all career-highs.
Godwin was also named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career and was second-team All-Pro. He's right up there with the elite pass-catchers in the league but is being paid peanuts compared to other top-flight receivers, including his teammate Mike Evans, who has the second-highest cap hit among wide receivers for 2020 at $17.95 million.
With Tom Brady now throwing him the football, Godwin should only continue to put up impressive numbers, which will result in a drastic uptick in income this time next year. For now, however, Tampa Bay is getting a steal.
2. DT Vita Vea
2020 salary cap hit: $4,042,974
Vita Vea is another Buc who is outperforming his current pay in the league. The 2018 first-round pick has been a sturdy piece on the defensive line for Tampa Bay for the past two seasons, totaling 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 12 quarterback hits in 16 games (one start) last season. He's poised to take another leap in Year 3 for Tampa Bay in 2020 and when he does, it'll be even more of a bargain for the Bucs.
His salary cap for next season reaches just over $4 million, which ranks 36th in the league at the position. That number only goes up around $600,000 for next season and the Buccaneers still would have another year beyond that of team control if they pick up his fifth-year option. For starting-caliber play along the interior of the defensive line, this is well worth it.
3. LB Devin White
2020 salary cap hit: $6,752,685
Devin White's $6.7 million cap charge is still a decent hit to the overall cap for the Bucs, but the type of play they are receiving at that number is second to none. Even with just one year under his belt, White has shown the potential of being a dynamic linebacker within the front seven for Tampa Bay. In 13 games played in 2019, he totaled 91 tackles, 2.5 sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He also scored two touchdowns.
Because he was a top-five pick, White's cap charges will increase quite a bit over the next few years, clocking in at around $8.7 million in 2021 and $9.5 million in 2022 before reaching a potential fifth-year option. If he continues on the path that he's currently on course for, however, even those numbers will be considered team-friendly. For 2020, he has 17th-highest cap hit among inside linebackers.
4. CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
2020 salary cap hit: $1,676,363
Sean Murphy-Bunting is poised to be Tampa Bay's top corner in 2020 after a solid rookie campaign in 2019. The former second-round pick started in 10 games for the Bucs during his first year in the league and led the team with three interceptions. He also totaled eight passes defended and 44 tackles.
With an expanded role on deck and a full year under his belt, Murphy-Bunting should continue to ascend in Tampa Bay's secondary, which will only make his rookie contract look even more team-friendly. He accounts for just 0.82% of the team's current cap and has a $1.67 million hit for 2020 at $830,273 in base salary. If he proves to be just an average corner in Year 2, the Buccaneers will be getting tremendous value when factoring in all the other No. 1 corners in the league. Murphy-Bunting is also signed through the 2022 season and his cap number only goes up to $2.35 million, so there are more savings on deck for Tampa Bay.
5. WR Scotty Miller
2020 salary cap hit: $706,960
Scotty Miller is in an interesting position coming into 2020, and we're admittedly calling our shot here as a potential breakout candidate to really solidify his contract as a bargain. During his rookie season, the former sixth-round pick played in 10 games (two starts) and totaled just 13 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown. With Breshad Perriman out of the picture, however, Tampa Bay will need a third option at receiver in Tom Brady's new offense, and we see Miller as a fit here behind superstars Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the slot.
Miller will have to fend off tight ends Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate for targets as well, but Tom Brady has shown in the past that he can take virtual unknowns at the receiver position and turn them into key weapons within an NFL offense almost overnight. In that spirit, we see Miller, who has reportedly been one of the receivers working with Brady during informal workouts down in Tampa, as a candidate to be the latest beneficiary.
If we're proven right, Miller is coming in at a tremendously cheap number. Over the lifetime of his rookie contract that runs through 2022, Miller's cap hit will never reach $1 million. For 2020, his base salary is just $675,000.