The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the free agent signing period on Friday morning with approximately $44 million to spend, and they aren't waiting long to put some of that money to use.

The Bucs are close to making their first splash in free agency. PewterReport.com is reporting that Tampa Bay is involved in serious contract negotiations with agent Ben Dogra on a contract for New Orleans Saints free agent center Jeff Faine.

There were several reports published early on Friday morning that suggested the Bucs had already signed Faine to a multi-year contract, but Pewter Report has learned that no deal has been signed and that a contract for Faine has not yet been finalized. However, those reports are not far off at all as a signing appears to be imminent.

Faine is expected to visit One Buccaneer Place on Friday and could sign a multi-year deal with the Buccaneers during his visit.

Faine, 26, has started all 66 games he's played in since entering the NFL in 2003 as a first-round draft pick out of Notre Dame.

If he's signed, the 6-foot-3, 291-pound Faine would replace John Wade, 33, as Tampa Bay's starting center. Wade, whose contract with Tampa Bay expired on Friday, had started all but eight regular season games at center for the Bucs since the 2003 season.

Not only could Tampa Bay have found its future center, it will have stole its division rival's starting center in the process.

After spending the first three years of his career with the Cleveland Browns, Faine spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Saints, where he helped lead a potent ground attack that featured running backs Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush.

Faine was also part of a New Orleans offensive line that allowed quarterback Drew Brees to be sacked just 34 times over the past two seasons.

The Bucs still are interested in re-signing C Matt Lehr, who like Wade, became an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

MORE FREE AGENCY VISITS
Keep track of all of the Tampa Bay's visits that PewterReport.com has been able to confirm on the Bucs Free Agency Tracker on the PewterReport.com message boards.

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