The Buccaneers have cleared nearly $6 million in salary cap space by releasing four-year starting center Jeff Faine. Jeremy Zuttah will likely take over at center for Tampa Bay.
Just a week after signing versatile offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah to a
four-year deal worth up to $12.75 million with incentives, the
Buccaneers have released starting center Jeff Faine in a move that will
clear additional salary cap space. It is expected that Zuttah, who has
played primarily left guard in Tampa Bay, but has started 13 games at
center, will take over for Faine in the middle of the Bucs' offensive
Faine, who has a salary cap number near $8 million, was set to make $5.925 million in base salary in 2012 and was owed
$7 million in 2013. The Buccaneers had a reported $42.7 million worth
of salary cap space when free agency began Tuesday after the cap has been set for all NFL teams at $120.6
million. With close to $6 million coming off the books for 2012, the Bucs had the additional room to sign free agent guard Carl Nicks to a five-year, $47.5 million contract earlier today.
The Sanford, Fla. native, who will turn 31 on April 6,
has had trouble staying healthy. The only season in which he started
every game was his first in Tampa Bay in 2008. The following year, Faine
started and played in only 12 games due to a triceps injury and Zuttah
was forced to fill in. Then Faine injured his triceps and his quad
muscles in 2010, a season in which he missed eight games as Zuttah took
over at center once again. Last year, Faine missed one game due to
another triceps injury and Zuttah was again called on to start. Over the
past three seasons, Faine has missed 13 games due to injury.
Buccaneers also have Ted Larsen, who is capable of playing both center
and left guard, on the roster to either compete with Zuttah to be the
team's snapper, at at the very least provide depth at both the guard and center position.
Faine, who has served as the
Bucs team captain on offense for several years, in addition to being
Tampa Bay's player rep, has been the team's starting center for the last
four years after being signed away from New Orleans by Tampa Bay in
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