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Bucs avoid Franchise Tag- give LT Donovan Smith extension

Florida Football Insiders

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It came down to the wire for the Buccaneers potentially having to place a Franchise Tag on left tackle Donovan Smith, but in the end, the two sides agreed to an extension and a deal that has to make both very happy.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the info first on Tuesday afternoon that Tampa Bay and their former second-round pick out of Penn State had agreed to a new deal:

As we wrote yesterday, the looming deadline for “tagging” a player would have guaranteed that Smith would be owed approximately $14 million for 2019. While the full contract specifics are not available, yet, as Schefter tweeted, the 3-year 41 million-dollar average is right at that same $14 million.

However, with the use of a signing bonus for Smith, the Bucs may have lowered Smith’s 2019 cap number to considerably less than $14 million and back-loaded the cap money in years two and three.

The Bucs confirmed the move a short time later Tuesday:

Bucs GM Jason Licht said in the team released item about Smith:

“Donovan has been a valuable player and a model of durability since we drafted him four years ago. We always aim to develop our players and reward them for their productivity and reliability, so keeping Donovan as a Buccaneer was a major priority for us this offseason. Donovan’s presence ensures continuity at one of our most crucial positions on the offensive line and I know our coaching staff is eager to begin working with him.”

Smith has been an iron man for the Buccaneers line, as he hasn’t missed a game in his four years in the NFL and last season didn’t miss a single snap in the 16 games.

The biggest debate of the situation has been: has Smith lived up to getting a massive contract from Tampa Bay or anyone else? There has been a lot of debate about what his worth would have been on the open market.

This as, Tampa Bay shuffled Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston in and out of the lineup, Sand mith continued to struggle consistently with pass blocking.

So much so, that when a Tampa Bay fan, who has regularly been breaking down game tape and putting video criticism on Twitter for the past few years, begin to criticize Smith, he chose to respond through social media.

Tampa Bay had already committed to Smith’s 2015 fellow second round pick draft mate, Ali Marpet. Marpet, has shown versatility in his four years, including playing right guard his first two years center in year three and then, left guard next to Smith last year. The Bucs gave him a lucrative contract extension with a hefty raise in the middle of last season.

It’s also well known that Smith and Marpet are good friends off the field, and also have hosted radio and TV shows together the last two seasons in Tampa Bay.

Now, all of that can continue for the foreseeable future.

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