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It appears the Bucs will be pulling out all the stops to keep the all pro safety in Tampa

The offseason is fully underway and as we get closer to free agency officially opening on March 13th, the Bucs have some work to do before then. One of the players that is in need of a new deal is all pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr and it appears the Bucs could very well take advantage of the franchise tag to make sure he doesn’t hit the open market.

The franchise tag deadline opens on February 20th and ends on March 5th so the Bucs will have to make a decision and act quickly if they choose to go down that route but according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the appears to be the likely outcome if Tampa Bay does indeed decide to use the tag.

The franchise tag number for safeties according to Spotrac is projected to be 16.2 million dollars. If Winfield does indeed receive the tag, that does not preclude the Bucs from getting a long term deal done with him and in fact, they have used this strategy before with Chris Godwin just a few years ago. They used the franchise tag on Godwin and only eight days later agreed to terms on a long term deal. Sometimes the tag can be used as simply a placeholder so that player doesn’t hit free agency and that could be the case for the star safety.

Winfield Jr is no doubt a top priority for Tampa Bay as he had an excellent 2023 season which somehow did not result in a pro bowl nod. He is definitely someone the Bucs would love to have long term but if they cannot come to terms on a deal to keep him in Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future, then the franchise tag makes sense to make sure he stays in Tampa at least for 2024.

We will see if the Bucs do decide to use the franchise tag at all this year but if they do, it appears that Antoine Winfield Jr is the most likely candidate to receive it.

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