Buccaneers, S Antoine Winfield Jr. Agree To Record-Setting Extension

MAY 14: Winfield’s deal is not backloaded, nor does it include any void years (as many modern NFL pacts do). He will receive $24MM this season, followed by $21MM next year; both figures are fully guaranteed, per Schefter. $20MM of the 2024 compensation is a bonus, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds. The $45MM locked in represents far more than what he would have earned playing on consecutive franchise tags ($37.65MM).

Winfield will see nearly identical compensation in 2026 and ’27 ($19.5MM, then $19.6MM). A $1.5MM roster bonus is in place for the latter year, by which point he will have cashed in considerably on the strong play to open his career.

MAY 13: As the Buccaneers hoped would take placeAntoine Winfield Jrhas agreed to a long-term extension. The All-Pro safety has a four-year, $84.1MM deal in place, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team has since confirmed the news.

This pact – which will see Winfield earn $45MM fully guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network – represents the largest contract ever given out to a defensive back of any kind. This marks the first time in NFL history that a safety (rather than a corner) holds the title of the league’s highest-paid DB.

The 2024 offseason included a number of key priorities for Tampa Bay with respect to keeping as many core players in the fold as possible. Hammering out extensions for quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Mike Evans allowed the team to use the franchise tag on Winfield. That was of course seen as a placeholder to allow for further negotiations on a long-term pact carrying a much larger AAV than the $17.12MM Winfield was originally due to earn this season. His 2024 cap hit will drop to roughly $7MM, per Fox Sports’ Greg Auman.

The 25-year-old’s deal averages $21.03MM per season, making this the first safety accord to eclipse the $20MM-per-year mark. As expected, Winfield has surpassed the likes of Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick and 2024 signee Xavier McKinney atop the pecking order at his position. Three corners (Jaire Alexander, Denzel Ward and Jalen Ramsey) are at or above $20MM per season, but today’s move marks a victory for Winfield as the new standard for a position group which has generally been undervalued this offseason.

A number of veteran safeties were released in the build-up to free agency, and well after the draft many of them are still unsigned. Winfield’s age and production had him positioned to earn a massive raise, however. The former second-rounder led the NFL with six forced fumbles in 2023, adding six sacks, three interceptions and 122 tackles. He is set to remain a massive part of Tampa Bay’s defense for years to come.

Secondary moves have been a common thread for the Buccaneers recently, with fellow safety Jordan Whitehead being brought back in free agency. Tampa Bay – a team which traded away cornerback Carlton Davis – also drafted Tykee Smith in the third round, and he has experience on the backend. The latter is expected to compete for the starting slot corner role, however, something which would make for an intriguing trio alongside Winfield and Whitehead.

Of the 2024 franchise tag recipients, only Bengals wideout Tee Higgins remains unattached to a multi-year deal. He has a standing trade request amidst a lack of progress on contract negotiations with Cincinnati. For the Buccaneers, meanwhile, one major piece of business remains with respect to retaining top contributors for the long haul. Left tackle Tristan Wirfs (who is a candidate to join Winfield in topping his position’s market) is in need of an extension since he is set to play on his fifth-year option in 2024. Buccaneers GM Jason Licht is confident a Wirfs deal can be worked out, and doing so would complete a very busy offseason.

View Comments (13)