TAMPA, Fla. (CBSMiami) – While the Miami Dolphins continue to just be observers in the first 24 hours of free agency; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to spend a lot of their available salary cap space.
Tuesday night, the Bucs signed arguably the best free agent receiver available this year in former San Diego Charger Vincent Jackson. The former Charger was Phillip Rivers’ favorite target and will play the same role for young Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman.
But that was just the beginning of the spending spree for the Bucs.
Wednesday morning the team made two additional moves, landing All-Pro guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright to five-year contracts.
Nicks was a key cog in the offensive line that took the New Orleans Saints to its only Super Bowl. He’s considered one of the best blockers in the NFL and should be ready to either pass block or bulldoze holes for whoever will line up in the Bucs’ backfield.
Wright is a five-year veteran who spent last year with the Detroit Lions. He had 73 tackles, four interceptions, and 16 passes defensed while starting 16 games in 2011. Wright will fill in the likely hole left by Ronde Barber and the likely loss of Aqib Talib.
Tampa Bay finished 2011 with a 4-12 record and was one of the worst offenses and defenses in the league. New head coach Greg Schiano is expected to run the football early and often, which makes the Nicks signing logical.
The Bucs offensive line will feature Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, a center to be named later, Davin Joseph, and possibly Jeremy Trueblood.
The Bucs hold the number five pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and are likely to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson to carry the bulk of the carries for the team out of the backfield.