Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about $13 million under the salary cap, general manager Jason Licht has been maximizing the team’s position by taking advantage of the veteran minimum benefit.
I just got a look at the details of the contracts for the two most recent signings by the Bucs -- safety Major Wright and wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins. In both cases, Licht used the veteran minimum benefit, which allows a player to count less against the salary cap than he actually makes.
Some people were wondering how Wright, who was a starter in Chicago, fit into the safety situation with Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. Wright’s one-year contract makes it very clear the Bucs view him as a backup.
Wright's deal includes a $730,000 base salary and a $65,000 signing bonus. But the minimum benefit allows Wright to cost only $570,000 against the cap.
Hawkins signed a similar deal. His one-year contract features a $730,000 base salary. Hawkins will receive a $65,000 bonus if he’s on the 53-man roster for the opening game. But Hawkins will only count $570,000 against the cap.