Advertisement

Is Tristan Wirfs skipping Bucs workouts until he gets a new contract?

TAMPA — Two years ago, center Ryan Jensen sustained what became a career-ending injury during a non-contact drill on the second day of training camp.

Jensen was fortunate that he already had signed a two-year, $26 million contract that was guaranteed against injury.

Now it seems as if Tristan Wirfs isn’t taking any chances.

The Bucs left tackle was a noticeable no-show on the first day of voluntary organized team activities Tuesday. Wirfs reportedly doesn’t want to risk injury until he has a long-term deal, and little progress has been made in negotiations.

Bucs coach Todd Bowles did not comment directly on that, but indicated he knew why Wirfs was not participating.

“I’m aware that it’s voluntary and me and Tristan had a conversation, we’ve had plenty of conversations,” Bowles said, “He’s still working out. He’s been here all offseason so I’m comfortable with that.”

Wirfs is scheduled to play under the club’s fifth-year option of $18.24 million. But the Bucs have expressed an interest in extending the contract of their three-time Pro Bowler, who made a seamless transition from right to left tackle last season.

Wirfs’ timing couldn’t be better. The Lions signed All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell, who was drafted in 2021, to the largest contract ever given to an offensive lineman: a four-year, $112 million deal that includes $85 million guaranteed. Wirfs could top the $28 million average annual salary.

A year ago, linebacker Devin White reported to mandatory minicamp but did not participate, an agreement the Bucs were comfortable with.

White played under the $11.7 million fifth-year option but the team opted not to extend his contract and he signed as a free agent with the Eagles in March.

The Bucs have spent the offseason locking up their core free agents, a list that includes receiver Mike Evans (two years, $41 million), quarterback Baker Mayfield (three years, $100 million) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who signed a four-year, $84 million contract that is the richest for any defensive back in NFL history.

Evans, Baker and Winfield each played through the final years of their contracts. There are no deadlines for the Bucs to reach an agreement with Wirfs.

Todd Bowles has knee replacement surgery

Another Bucs head coach was watching practice from a golf cart Tuesday.

No, not Bruce Arians. This time, it was Bowles, who had left knee replacement surgery.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” he said. “I think that was mine, but any cart would’ve done right now. A skateboard would’ve been great but they gave me a golf cart.

“The first few days after surgery it was pretty tough, but it’s coming around right now. ... I’ll be fine.”

• • •

Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.

Never miss out on the latest with your favorite Tampa Bay sports teams. Follow our coverage on Instagram, X and Facebook.