Bucs sticking with cap approach

Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to distance themselves from last year’s 4-12 season, one thing has stayed the same.

That is the way they structure contracts. New general manager Jason Licht is doing the same thing predecessor Mark Dominik did. Licht is avoiding giving out signing bonuses and is paying big money in the early years of contracts.

That prevents the Bucs from getting weighed down with big salary-cap figures in the later years of the contract. That method has become an organizational philosophy.

“I would say it’s a method that’s worked very well for us," Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said at the recent NFL owners meeting. “It’s given us a lot of flexibility. The structures we’ve put in place are not creating problems for the future. One thing we learned from the past was that at one point we got ourselves in big trouble. One decision we made after that was that we’re going to do things in a way that won’t put us in a bad position moving forward and give us flexibility for the future. As you saw this offseason, we had the flexibility to do a lot of things. There’s no need to change structurally what is working."

Licht has given only one signing bonus while signing 12 free agents so far. That bonus was a relatively small $300,000 to linebacker Dane Fletcher.