Tristan Wirfs

T Tristan Wirfs, S Antoine Winfield Jr. Agree To Buccaneers Restructures

As has been the case for much of the 2023 offseason, the Buccaneers finished minicamp near the bottom of the league in cap space. A pair of moves made this week will give them some financial breathing space, however.

Tampa Bay restructured the contracts of left tackle Tristan Wirfs and safety Antoine Winfield Jr., as noted by Greg Auman of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The team added three void years to the former’s contract, along with four for the latter. In all, the pair were scheduled to make $5.8MM in salary this season, but their cap hits will come down as a result of this move.

Both Wirfs and Winfield are still on their rookie contracts, making it something of a rarity that they have seen their deals re-worked. Both figure to be mainstays on the team for years to come, however, having started every game they have played in during their first three years in the league. Winfield will be eligible for free agency next March, but Wirfs is already on the books for 2024 since Tampa Bay made the expected decision of picking up his fifth-year option.

The latter will look to transition to left tackle this season, after spending his first three years on the right side. Expectations will be high for Wirfs, who has earned a Pro Bowl and All-Pro nod (one first-team, one second-team) in each of the past two campaigns. Veteran Donovan Smith was one of several departures this offseason, after he was released in a cost-cutting move. A successful year on the blindside for Wirfs would go a long way toward earning him a sizeable raise on his next deal.

Winfield, meanwhile, is again in line for a central role in the Buccaneers’ defensive play in 2023. The 24-year-old has a Pro Bowl invitation to his name, and has emerged as a highly productive player against the run and pass. Tampa Bay lost Keanu Neal in free agency while adding former Seahawk Ryan Neal; veteran Logan Ryan remains unsigned. The retention of cornerback Jamel Dean will give the team continuity in the secondary, though, and allow Winfield the opportunity to play his way into a multi-year extension.

Second contracts for both Wirfs and Winfield will present the Buccaneers with a new financial challenge, having already navigated the 2023 offseason with more than $75MM in dead cap charges to overcome. Long-term commitments to those two will no doubt be a priority down the road, but the team’s outlook for the immediate future has been improved.

Tristan Wirfs Confirms Move To Left Tackle

The Buccaneers are following through with the long-rumored plan to move Tristan Wirfs from right to left tackle. The All-Pro blocker confirmed as much Tuesday.

In Todd Bowles‘ exit meeting with Wirfs conducted a day after the 2022 season ended, Fox Sports’ Greg Auman notes the second-year Bucs HC said the team would probably go through with the position switch. This, of course, came when eight-year left tackle starter Donovan Smith remained on the Bucs’ roster. Tampa Bay released Smith in March, and the veteran blocker is now expected to become Kansas City’s left tackle starter.

This move comes after Wirfs proved himself to be an elite NFL right tackle. The Bucs traded up one spot for Wirfs in 2020, taking him 13th overall. The Iowa product proved a quick study, helping keep Tom Brady upright during a season that ended with Wirfs playing well in Super Bowl LV. The following year, Wirfs earned first-team All-Pro acclaim at his now-former position. Wirfs received a Pro Bowl nod last year, despite missing four games.

While college left tackles regularly move to other positions as pros, Wirfs spent most of his Big Ten career on the right side. Wirfs began his starter foray at that spot as a freshman in 2017, started all 12 Iowa games there as a sophomore in 2018 and continued that run for nine 2019 games. Wirfs did start three games at left tackle for the 2019 Iowa squad, earning All-American acclaim for his two-position season. That short stint at left tackle suddenly becomes relevant again.

Smith allowed seven sacks last season and led the team in penalties. Pro Football Focus rated Smith outside the top 65 among tackles last season, and the Bucs created some cap space by cutting him. With Wirfs sliding over to the highest-profile O-line post, 2022 second-round pick Luke Goedeke is ticketed to be the Bucs’ first option on the right side. The Bucs attempted to move Goedeke, primarily a college right tackle, to guard last season. They will now try the Central Michigan alum at his more natural spot.

Wirfs, 24, will also have a chance to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid offensive linemen soon. While Wirfs is eligible for an extension now, the Bucs picking up his fifth-year option in April points to the team waiting until 2024 to complete a deal. This move may lead to the Bucs paying a bit more compared to negotiations on a top-tier right tackle extension.

The Chiefs and Eagles raised the right tackle market past $20MM per year in March, via Kansas City’s Jawaan Taylor pickup and Philly’s latest Lane Johnson extension, but left tackles ballooned past that point back in 2020. Although only three LTs (Laremy Tunsil, Trent Williams, David Bakhtiari) are tied to deals north of $20MM AAV, all three earn at least $23MM per annum. Wirfs transitioning smoothly to his new role will put him on track to command a contract in the Tunsil neighborhood ($25MM per year).

With Smith gone, the Bucs only have one higher-end O-lineman pact — the $13MM-per-year accord given to center Ryan Jensen — on their payroll. Wirfs may play the 2023 season on a rookie salary, but the chances of him playing the ’24 slate on the fifth-year option are slim. It will be interesting to see how Wirfs fares on the left side this year, as he may soon be on track to push for a potential record-breaking O-line deal.

Bucs GM Jason Licht On Tristan Wirfs, Luke Goedeke

MAY 10: Lending more to the notion Wirfs will be on the move, Bucs offensive line coach Joe Gilbert said (via Stroud) the left side of the team’s line looks fairly set with the All-Pro on the blind side and free agency pickup Matt Feiler at left guard. After three strong seasons at right tackle, Wirfs appears on the cusp of playing a more lucrative position as a big payday nears.

MAY 7: The Buccaneers have contemplated moving right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who has earned two Pro Bowls bids and one First Team All-Pro selection in his three years in the NFL, to the left side of the line. After the Bucs failed to acquire a left tackle in last month’s draft, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times wrote that Wirfs will officially be moving to LT.

GM Jason Licht, however, says that a final decision on Wirfs’ position has not been made just yet. On a recent appearance on 95.3 WDAE, Licht said, “Now we’re still going to remain fluid here in the offseason. We’re going to see how it goes. We certainly feel very comfortable with a person like Tristan, with his skillset and his athleticism and size and intelligence and all that, that [his transition to left tackle] is gonna be pretty seamless, but that hasn’t completely been etched in stone yet” (h/t

Licht’s comments notwithstanding, it would seem that Wirfs, as Stroud indicated, is indeed ticketed for the blind side. At this stage of the offseason, the free agent left tackle options are generally uninspiring and include the likes of Eric Fisher (who did not play a snap in 2022), Jason Peters (who turned 41 in January), and Taylor Lewan (who has suffered two ACL tears in the past three years). Unless Wirfs sustains an injury or proves completely incapable of making the transition to LT, those players likely would not represent an upgrade.

Of course, assuming Wirfs does fill the void created when longtime left tackle Donovan Smith was released in March, someone will need to replace Wirfs at right tackle. Per Stroud, the first crack at that position will go to Luke Goedeke, a 2022 second-round choice. In his rookie season, Goedeke — who worked as a right tackle in college — spent the majority of his time at left guard and largely struggled.

The hope is that moving Goedeke back to RT will make him look more like a second-round draftee. He did line up at right tackle for last year’s regular season finale, and he looked much more comfortable there than he did as an interior blocker.

“We are excited about how Luke did for us at (right) tackle there at the end of the year — it’s his natural position,” Licht said.

It is unclear whether Licht made an effort to trade up from his No. 19 selection to land an OT. The Steelers moved up four spots from their No. 18 slot to nab Georgia LT Broderick Jones, and Licht passed on Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison when the Bucs were on the clock. While the Bucs did pick up North Dakota State tackle Cody Mauch on Day 2, Mauch will be converted to guard.

At present, Tampa Bay’s starting OL, from left to right, appears to be Wirfs, Nick Leverett, Ryan Jensen, Mauch, and Goedeke. That unit will be tasked with clearing more space for what was the league’s worst rushing attack in 2022 and affording presumptive QB1 Baker Mayfield sufficient time to throw.

Wirfs is already under club control through 2024 since Licht made the easy decision to exercise his fifth-year option. But if the Iowa product performs as well at left tackle as he has on the right side, his future earning power will get a significant boost.

2024 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2020 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the third-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($29.5MM): Exercised
  2. DE Chase Young, Commanders ($17.45MM): Declined
  3. CB Jeff Okudah, Falcons* ($11.51MM): N/A
  4. T Andrew Thomas, Giants ($14.18MM): Exercised
  5. QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($23.2MM): Exercised
  6. QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($29.5MM): Exercised
  7. DT Derrick Brown, Panthers ($11.67MM): Exercised 
  8. LB Isaiah Simmons, Cardinals ($12.72MM): Declined
  9. CB C.J. Henderson, Jaguars** ($11.51MM): Declined
  10. T Jedrick Wills, Browns ($14.18MM): Exercised
  11. T Mekhi Becton, Jets ($12.57MM): Declined
  12. WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders: N/A
  13. T Tristan Wirfs, Buccaneers ($18.24MM): Exercised
  14. DT Javon Kinlaw, 49ers ($10.46MM): Declined
  15. WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14.12MM): Exercised
  16. CB AJ Terrell, Falcons ($12.34MM): Exercised
  17. WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($17.99MM): Exercised
  18. OL Austin Jackson, Dolphins ($14.18MM): Declined
  19. CB Damon Arnette, Raiders: N/A
  20. DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Jaguars ($12.14MM): Declined
  21. WR Jalen Reagor, Vikings*** ($12.99MM): To decline
  22. WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($19.74MM): Exercised
  23. LB Kenneth Murray, Chargers ($11.73MM): Declined
  24. G Cesar Ruiz, Saints ($14.18MM): Declined
  25. WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($14.12MM): Exercised
  26. QB Jordan Love, Packers ($20.27MM): Extended through 2024
  27. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seahawks ($12.72MM): Declined
  28. LB Patrick Queen, Ravens ($12.72MM): Declined
  29. T Isaiah Wilson, Titans: N/A
  30. CB Noah Igbinoghene, Dolphins ($11.51MM): Declined
  31. CB Jeff Gladney, Vikings: N/A
  32. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs ($5.46MM): To decline

* = Lions traded Okudah on April 11, 2023
** = Jaguars traded Henderson on Sept. 27, 2021
*** = Eagles traded Reagor on August 31, 2022

Buccaneers Pick Up Fifth-Year Option On OT Tristan Wirfs

While Tristan Wirfs‘ future position is in question, the Buccaneers are assuring the offensive lineman is on the roster through at least the 2024 campaign. According to Greg Auman of Fox Sports (on Twitter), the Buccaneers are picking up the OL’s fifth-year option. Scott Reynolds of was first with the news.

[RELATED: Buccaneers Discussing Tristan Wirfs Move To LT]

The 2020 first-round pick has established himself as one of the top right tackles in the NFL, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections. Wirfs has finished in the top-10 of Pro Football Focus’ guard rankings in each of his first three seasons, including a seventh-place finish in 2022. After not missing a game through his first two seasons in the NFL, Wirfs missed three games last year with an ankle injury (he was also inactive for the regular season finale).

Interestingly, the Buccaneers are considering changing Wirfs’ position and moving him to the left side of the line. Unlike some of the league’s other top RTs, Wirfs didn’t actually play much left tackle in college and ended up sticking on the right side in the NFL. While the move hasn’t been finalized, the Buccaneers seemingly started to prepare for the transition by moving on from long-time left tackle Donovan Smith. Wirfs is also reportedly open to moving to left tackle.

While today’s move locks Wirfs into an $18.2MM salary for the 2024 campaign, a potential change to the left side of the offensive line could have a significant impact on his future earnings. Lane Johnson and Jawaan Taylor are the only two right tackles in the NFL who top the $20MM AAV mark, while the league’s three top-paid left tackles (Laremy Tunsil, Trent Williams, David Bakhtiari) earn at least $23MM per year. Ryan Ramczyk has the highest total contract among RTs at $96MM, and his contract contains language that would bump his pay if he moved to left tackle and excelled.

Buccaneers Discussing Tristan Wirfs Move To Left Tackle

Tristan Wirfs became extension-eligible in January; he could soon have a chance to increase his price. The Buccaneers are considering shifting Wirfs from right to left tackle.

The team has discussed this change, and Jeremy Fowler of notes Wirfs is open to a move. This is not viewed as a lock just yet, but The Athletic’s Dan Pompei writes the assumption is the former first-round pick will change positions ahead of his fourth season (subscription required).

Unlike a number of NFL right tackles, Wirfs did not primarily play on the left side in college. He spent more time on the right side while at Iowa, though his 2019 All-American year included three blindside starts. This would be an interesting transition for Wirfs, and the Bucs have laid the groundwork for it by cutting Donovan Smith.

Smith, 29, spent the past eight seasons as Tampa Bay’s left tackle; only Paul Gruber enjoyed a longer run at that spot in the franchise’s 47-season history. Smith signed three contracts with the Bucs but will now be in search of a second team, as the franchise that pushed its chips in during Tom Brady‘s tenure deals with a cap crunch. The Bucs making Smith a cap casualty opens the door for Wirfs, 24, to make his mark at the higher-profile tackle spot.

Other high-end right tackles have been connected to possible position changes. Lane Johnson was once viewed as a Jason Peters heir apparent in Philadelphia, and Ryan Ramczyk has been mentioned as a candidate to switch sides in New Orleans. Both have stayed at right tackle, however, and a Wirfs switch does run the risk of the Bucs cutting into one of their biggest strengths — after a season in which the team struggled at the non-Wirfs O-line spots. Wirfs earned first-team All-Pro recognition in 2021 and second-team acclaim last season. He became an instant starter as a rookie and provided strong protection for Brady during the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV-winning march.

By exercising Wirfs’ fifth-year option (which the Bucs will do) by May, they can push out his contract year to 2024. If this position move comes to pass and Wirfs thrives on the left side, his price will likely rise. The league’s top three left tackles each earn north of $22MM per year; no right tackle is tied to a deal past the $19.2MM-AAV mark. The top right tackle deal (Ramczyk’s) also contains language that would bump his pay if he moved to left tackle and excelled.

Following through with this transition will also shift the Bucs’ top need up front to right tackle. Although this is a good year to need a right tackle, as free agency will feature a few quality options, the Bucs would seemingly focus on the draft here. They still have a ways to go to move under the salary cap.

NFL Injury Rumors: Week 17 Updates

Updates to injury questions heading into the Sunday slate of games:

  • Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins will miss this Sunday’s game in Atlanta with a knee injury, according to the team’s final injury report. The injury seemed to appear from nowhere late this week and, with the Cardinals eliminated from playoff contention, it would not be a surprise to see Hopkins sit for the remainder of the season. Quarterbacks David Blough and Trace McSorley will have to rely on Marquise Brown, Greg Dortch, A.J. Green, Robbie Anderson, Pharoh Cooper, and recently promoted Andre Baccellia in the meantime.
  • The Commanders will have to face Cleveland tomorrow without running back Antonio Gibson, according to the team’s official Twitter account. With Gibson out due to an ankle sprain, Washington will likely continue to rely heavily on rookie starter Brian Robinson. Veteran running back Jonathan Williams will likely find himself in an increased role tomorrow, as will elevated practice squad back Jaret Patterson.
  • Despite returning to practice this week, 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel is unable to play this weekend against the Raiders, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy will have at least one more week depending on the likes of Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, tight end George Kittle, and running back Christian McCaffrey without Samuel. Head coach Kyle Shanahan indicated that there’s “a chance” Samuel will be able to return next week.
  • Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs reportedly aggravated his ankle injury last week against the Cardinals, but according to Jenna Laine of ESPN, Wirfs intends on playing regardless. Tampa Bay is also hoping to get starting left tackle Donovan Smith back for tomorrow’s game against the Panthers. If Smith does play, it will be the first time the two have appeared in a game together since a Week 12 loss to the Browns.
  • The Texans have confirmed that two starters are no longer in question to play this weekend as right tackle Tytus Howard and rookie left guard Kenyon Green are both expected to play against the Jaguars, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. Howard had to clear concussion protocol in order to play this weekend and successfully did so. Green has missed Houston’s last two contests with an ankle injury but has reportedly improved considerably. Backup interior lineman Jimmy Morrissey was unable to clear concussion protocol and will be unable to play this Sunday.

NFC Injury Rumors: Baker, Lynch, Bucs

Cardinals star safety Budda Baker suffered a fractured shoulder last Sunday in the team’s overtime loss to the Buccaneers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Despite the fact that Baker didn’t exit the game, he is expected to sit out the final two games of the regular season. Considering the fact that Arizona has already been eliminated from postseason contention, there’s no reason to risk further injury to the heart and soul of the team’s defense.

For the last two games of the season, Arizona will likely start the next man on the depth chart, veteran safety Chris Banjo. Baker was voted to the Pro Bowl this year, meaning a replacement will have to be made for him in that game, as well. 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga should get the start in place of Baker, but the alternate to replace his spot has yet to be named. Vikings safety Harrison Smith and Lions safety Kerby Joseph were both top vote getters in fan voting, though.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFC:

  • Another player set to miss the remainder of the regular season, Vikings defensive lineman James Lynch is dealing with a shoulder injury, according to Rapoport. The young defender has graded out impressively as the league’s 41st-best interior defender, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), despite not holding a starting position. Minnesota is pulling him back from play now in order to rehab him in hopes that he will be able to make a return in the playoffs. Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips will continue to start on the defensive line, but Lynch’s absence should open the door for Khyiris Tonga and Esezi Otomewo to earn more snaps in rotation.
  • The Buccaneers have not had both of their starting tackles active in a game together since Week 12. While Tampa Bay finally got right tackle Tristan Wirfs back from injury last weekend, left tackle Donovan Smith was unable play with a foot injury. Wirfs, who had missed three straight games with an ankle injury, reportedly aggravated the injury when a player fell on him from behind, according to Buccaneers senior writer/editor Scott Smith. Head coach Todd Bowles told media that he hopes Smith can return this week and, while he was unclear on Wirfs availability for next week, Bowles called the situation “not ideal.”

NFC Injury Rumors: Rams, Peat, Buccaneers

Injuries continue to hamper the Rams in the final stretch of the season. News earlier this week confirmed that calf strains to center Brian Allen and wide receiver Ben Skowronek “are severe enough to sideline them for the rest of the season,” according to team staff writer Stu Jackson. That leaves Los Angeles down two more starters as the Super Bowl hangover continues.

Allen has had a disappointing season, health-wise. After missing five weeks while dealing with a knee injury early on in the year, then two more with a thumb issue, the calf strain has finally put an end to Allen’s tumultuous 2022 season. Starting guard Coleman Shelton, who has plenty of past experience at center, moved inside when Allen left last week’s game and will continue to start at center for the remainder of the season. To replace Shelton at right guard, the team will choose between backup linemen Bobby Evans, Oday Aboushi, and Zach Thomas.

Not that there was much damage left to do to the battle-worn Rams, but Skowronek is yet another damaging loss to the team. With starting receivers Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson already on injured reserve, Skowronek was Los Angeles’s leading wideout still on the active roster. With the former Notre Dame tight end joining Kupp and Robinson as out for the remainder of the year, quarterback Baker Mayfield will be passing to Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell, Austin Trammell, and Lance McCutcheon.

Allen and Skowronek add their names to the litany of Rams’ starters who have gone down for the year. Here are a few other injury rumors from around the NFC, focusing on a couple teams in the South:

  • Saints starting guard Andrus Peat left Saturday’s win over the Browns with an ankle injury and did not return. Peat is no stranger to injuries, having struggled with them throughout his NFL career. His absence, though, puts New Orleans in a tough spot as it succeeded in remaining in the NFC South race with Saturday’s victory. Already down starting right guard Cesar Ruiz, who is out for the year with a Lisfranc injury, the Saints are having to put together a patchwork offensive line. Peat’s usual backup, Calvin Throckmorton, started the game in place of Ruiz. With backup guard Lewis Kidd inactive, New Orleans had to turn to Josh Andrews, a practice squad center who had been a gameday elevation. The severity of the injury has yet to be determined, but an extended absence from Peat would make it even more difficult for the Saints to clinch a playoff spot down the stretch.
  • The Buccaneers ruled out three starters for today’s matchup with the Cardinals, according to Greg Auman of FOX Sports. Starting tackle Donovan Smith, defensive tackle Vita Vea, and cornerback Jamel Dean have all been ruled out, as has outside linebacker Carl Nassib. With the bad news comes the good news that Tampa Bay’s other starting tackle Tristan Wirfs is expected to play today. Backup tackle Josh Wells, who was also questionable coming into this week, will likely start in place of Smith. Vea’s role should be filled by Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Dean will likely be replaced by a combination of Sean Murphy-Bunting, Dee Delaney, and Zyon McCollum.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Hayward, Wirfs

Next year’s running back market stands to feature a glut of starter-caliber options. Even if the Giants and Raiders respectively keep Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs from hitting free agency, potential first-time free agents Miles Sanders, Tony Pollard, David Montgomery, Damien Harris, Devin Singletary and Alexander Mattison are unsigned through 2023. Ditto Kareem Hunt, who is expected to hit the market after the Browns held off on a deadline trade. Jeff Wilson and Jamaal Williams would also be intriguing second-go-round UFAs, but the Panthers have a player in a similar position.

D’Onta Foreman signed a one-year, $2MM deal to relocate from Charlotte to Nashville this offseason, and he has continued his Titans pace. Christian McCaffrey‘s replacement, who ended up being Derrick Henry‘s top fill-in last year, now has seven 100-yard games over his past 13. Teams are monitoring the former third-round pick’s status, according to Jeremy Fowler of The Panthers have Chuba Hubbard signed through 2024, and although they are likely to change coaching staffs come January, Foreman makes sense as a re-sign candidate. Despite being a 2017 draftee, he is just 26. And thanks to a lengthy hiatus that covered much of a three-year stretch from 2018-20, the ex-Texas Longhorn only has 366 career carries. That bodes well for more quality seasons being ahead.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Casey Hayward has been on IR since mid-October; he has been eligible to return for a bit now. But the Falcons cornerback is not a lock to come back this year, per’s Scott Bair, who notes the 11th-year veteran underwent shoulder surgery after hitting the injured list. Hayward and the Saints’ Chris Harris are the NFL’s oldest active-roster cornerbacks, at 33, and the former represents a key defender for a team gunning for an unexpected division title. Hayward signed a two-year, $11MM deal to come over from Las Vegas. The Falcons have used second-year man Darren Hall in his place. Pro Football Focus does rank Hall, a fourth-round pick out of San Diego State, 35th overall among corners this season.
  • The Buccaneers are expected to be without Tristan Wirfs for a bit because of a high ankle sprain. While the team is hoping the All-Pro right tackle can return in three or four weeks, Fowler adds the third-year blocker could be facing a five- or six-week absence. Some ligament damage occurred, per Fowler, but Wirfs is not expected to need surgery. This timetable would put run up against the end of the regular season, though the Bucs have not placed Wirfs on IR yet.
  • Whereas Foreman’s free agency stock is rising, Baker Mayfield‘s keeps tumbling. Steve Wilks announced Sam Darnold will start in Week 14 against the Seahawks but stopped short of declaring Mayfield the backup, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Mayfield’s QB2 status depends on P.J. Walker‘s health, according to Wilks. This certainly points to Wilks having more confidence in the ex-XFLer. Despite pushing for Offensive Rookie of the Year acclaim and playing a lead role in snapping one of major American sports’ longest playoff droughts two years later, Mayfield will likely need to sign a one-year deal and attempt to prove himself once again. Mayfield, 27, remains last in QBR among qualified starters.