Some were starting to think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would wait until the 2006 NFL Draft to address some needs along their offensive line.

It turns out they were wrong.

The Buccaneers signed Dallas Cowboys restricted free agent tackle Torrin Tucker to an offer sheet Thursday.

Tucker, 26, has started 24 of the 36 games he’s played in as a Cowboy since entering the league in 2003.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Tucker has the ability to play both tackle positions. Last season, Tucker started 10 games at left tackle. In 2004, he started 13 games at right tackle.

Dallas has one week to match the offer extended to Tucker by the Bucs. If the Cowboys don’t match the offer, Tucker will become a Buccaneer.

Tampa Bay would not have to compensate Dallas for acquiring Tucker as he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi.

Tampa Bay has visited with several free agent tackles this offseason, including Tom Ashworth, Jason Fabini, Brad Hopkins and Mike Pearson.

But Ashworth and Fabini opted to sign with Seattle and New York (Jets), respectively, and Hopkins recently told the Titans Radio Network that he is leaning toward retirement.

The Bucs still are believed to be interested in signing Pearson and likely will draft at least one offensive tackle next month.

The addition of Tucker would give the Bucs a swing tackle who is capable of pushing LT Anthony Davis and RT Kenyatta Walker for a starting job. He would also serve as a backup tackle, a role that was occupied last season by Todd Steussie, who is an unrestricted free agent.


If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason plans regarding roster changes, free agency and the NFL Draft with a Pewter Insider premium subscription.


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