The Buccaneers appear to be intent on making a splash in free agency – and not just with their pursuit of WR Vincent Jackson. Tampa Bay is also courting guard Carl Nicks and is in the process of scheduling a visit with the Pro Bowler.
Sources tell PewterReport.com that the Buccaneers are scheduling a visit with Pro Bowl free agent guard Carl Nicks. New Orleans was unable to re-sign Nicks prior to the start of free agency after using the franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees and signing wide receiver Marques Colston to a five-year, $40-million contract prior to the start of free agency.
The other team competing to have Nicks visit is Philadelphia, according to multiple Internet news reports.
Nicks is arguably the best guard in the NFL and one of the most sought after free agents on the market. He will only be 27 in May.
The Pro Bowler has started 61 of 64 NFL games he’s played in and hasn’t missed a start in the last three years. The 6-foot-5, 343-pound Nicks would look great at left guard opposite fellow Pro Bowler Davin Joseph and would allow the Bucs to establish an interior power running game.
While it would be great to upgrade the offensive line and steal a great player from a division rival like the Saints, Tampa Bay will have to pay two guards contracts totaling $100 million as Joseph signed a seven-year, $53-million deal in August and Nicks is seeking a deal that would pay him slightly more than that.
Despite re-signing Jeremy Zuttah to a four-year deal worth over $12 million last week, Bucs could have an opening at left guard as Zuttah is expected to either compete with Jeff Faine at center if Tampa Bay sign Nicks, or Faine could be released outright to pave the way for Zuttah to become Josh Freeman’s snapper.
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