The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a big splash at the start of free agency this offseason, signing three players -- wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright -- to contracts totaling $140.555 million overall with $72 million guaranteed. The commitment to spending in free agency was spurred by the arrival of head coach Greg Schiano, general manager Mark Dominik said last week.
"We wanted to show not only the community but (the entire Buccaneers team that) with Coach Schiano, everything here is really brand new,'' Dominik said during a roundtable discussion at the Tampa Bay Sports Commission's "Sneaker Soiree," according to Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune. "It was a unique opportunity.''
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Spending money is not something the Buccaneers have done in recent years. The Buccaneers took advantage of the lack of a salary floor during the uncapped year of 2010, coming in as one of three teams to spend less than $100 million in cash on player contracts. In 2011, the Buccaneers once again ranked near the bottom of the league in terms of cash spent; their sole signing was of punter/kickoff specialist Michael Koenen, who was inked to a six-year, $19.5 million contract.
The $33.25 million in first-year payments to Jackson, Nicks and Wright, however, have moved the Buccaneers near the top 10 in terms of cash spent in 2012.
An interesting aspect about the Buccaneers' commitment to spending is that it has not included signing bonuses. The team is making good use of its ample salary-cap room and not mortgaging future cap health by front-loading contracts. This will be unavoidable when it comes to signing rookies, but the Buccaneers have only given out a little more than $1.5 million in signing bonuses this offseason, before Monday's signing of first-round running back Doug Martin. The largest bonus to that point went to second-round pick Lavonte David ($964,896).