As manna flows from heaven, the bucks rolled through Tampa Bay like treasure on pirates ships. The Buccaneers entered the 2012 NFL offseason with a league high $44.6 million available to “make it rain” (like throwing money around at a Gentlemen’ Club) in free agency. Star wide receiver Vincent Jackson was hit with the Bucs’ storm of cash Tuesday with a five-year deal worth $56 million. Wednesday, cornerback Eric Wright and All-Pro guard Carl Nicks signed five-year deals, according to the team’s press release. Wright’s deal is worth $37.5 million, $13 guaranteed, and Nicks’ deal is worth $47.5 million, $31 million guaranteed.
The Bucs were in the same position last season with millions of dollars stuff under their mattresses for show as they surprisingly held on to their cash for a rainy day. Clearly, the Bucs’ 2011 campaign was a rainy day as they finished with a 4-12 record, after being nearly playoff-bound with a 10-6 record in 2010.
According the USA Today, ten teams had at least $20 million available in cap space, and the Bucs were one of them with the NFL salary cap set at $120.6 million.
Moving forward, the Bucs may sign other pieces within the next few months, in hopes to have a better season in 2012.
Defensively for the Bucs last season, it was a nightmare in Tampa as they finished 30th in points allowed (30.9), yards allowed (394.4) and last in rushing yards allowed (156.1). Wright will be able to help improve a secondary that was crucified throughout their 2011 campaign. The question is, can Wright be effective in run support, consistently?
Offensively, the Bucs finished 27th in scoring (17.9), 21st in total yards (319.2) and 30th in rushing (91.1). Nicks is a nasty offensive lineman. The 6-5, 343-pounder from the University of Nebraska gave New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees solid protection, while steam rolling over defenders to create holds for their backs. The best free agent offensive lineman is expected to do the same for Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman.
Wednesday evening, the Bucs released veteran center Jeff Faine. Faine had two seasons remaining from the six-year, $37.5 million deal he signed in 2008 as a free agent.
This move gives the Bucs more bucks to toss, which they should.
Is defensive end Mario Williams in the Bucs’ spotlight?
Stay tuned, Bucs’ fans!