The offseason is in full tilt for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few weeks ahead of free agency, which kicks off in March.

The team decided to release edge rusher Shaq Barrett, a two-time Pro Bowler, Tuesday morning to open up $4.9 million in cap space. That increases their 2024 cap space to around $48.6 million, the 10th-most cap room in the NFL this offseason, according to OverTheCap.com.

The Buccaneers now shift their attention toward multiple key contributors on both sides of the ball who are set to become free agents in March when the new league year begins: quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David and safety Antoine Winfield Jr

The two offensive leaders appear to be the team's top priority, especially Mayfield. The first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft registered career-highs in completion percentage (64.3%), passing touchdowns (28) and passing yards (4,044) in 2023 in his age-28 season. 

"It's an extremely high priority, obviously," Bowles said Tuesday on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" from the the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "You know, we got a couple days before the league year begins, but we love Baker. Baker had a heck of a year. He fit right in with us all the way around. The chemistry was outstanding with him and all the receivers and the offense as a whole, so you want to hope to build on that. I understand the business side of it. Like I said, we like Bake and we hope things get worked out."  

The head coach has a similar sentiment about Evans, who is the only player in NFL history to begin their career with 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of their first 10 seasons. If he goes for 1,000 again in 2024, he will tie the wide receiver GOAT Jerry Rice for the longest streak of 1,000-yard receiving seasons in league history. Evans also co-led the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns along with Miami Dolphins All-Pro Tyreek Hill. He is the Buccaneers' all-time leader in catches (762), receiving yards (11,680) and receiving touchdowns (94) 

"He had a career year last year," Bowles said of Evans. "Obviously, he had a heck of a year and he's been doing it for a decade now, and obviously, we want him to retire as a Buc and everything we're trying to do. Put all our resources to sign him back as well because Mike is great for the community. He's great for the team. He's great for the guys, and he's a heck of a ball player."

Thanks to the NFL's salary cap jumping a record $30.6 million for 2024 up to $255.4 million, Tampa Bay may be able to retain many of its core free agents this spring.