Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bucs spending frenzy ignites fan base

The Tampa Bay Bucs are on a signing frenzy and their long time suffering fans couldn’t be happier.

Less than 24 hours after signing Vincent Jackson, the top free agent receiver, the Bucs followed it up with two more deals that included a blockbuster.

The Bucs came to terms with New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, who signed a reported five year deal worth $47.5 million with $31 million guaranteed.

The deal was done quickly. Nicks reportedly arrived in Tampa on Tuesday night and by morning agreed to terms. For the Bucs this is an unheard of amount of money, particularly mind boggling coming off the Jackson signing, which guaranteed him $26 million over two years.

It also means the Bucs are serious about establishing an interior running game that new head coach Greg Schiano says is his staple. As a bonus they steal a guy who played an instrumental role in Saints quarterback Drew Brees to put up those astronomical numbers.

Nicks is also durable and has consistently graded out among the top guards in the league. The 6-5, 343 pound, 27-year-old hasn’t missed a start in the last three years. He joins the Bucs Davin Joseph, another Pro Bowler (who signed a $53 million deal last summer).

The Bucs also signed cornerback Eric Wright, who played for Detroit last year and had four interceptions to give him 14 for his five year NFL career. He played four years for Cleveland until signing with the Lions last season.

The 26-year-old Wright is not considered among the top 10 free agent cornerbacks and would be a risk if the Bucs cornerback situation wasn’t so bad, particularly with the possibility Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib won’t play next season.

The 5-10, 196 pound Wright was a favorite target among league quarterbacks last year though part of it might be he covered the slot in nickel situations.

Wright was thrown at 120 times last year, only one less than the Saints Jabari Greer, and his 75 receptions allowed was the most among cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, which didn’t have him in its top 100 cornerbacks.

Wright gave up 842 reception yards, which was the sixth highest among cornerbacks in yardage allowed, his 11.2 yards per catch was the eighth highest and his 14 missed tackles was fifth highest among cornerbacks.

But he is an improvement anyway you look at it for the Bucs considering many factors. Among those E.J. Biggers gave the seventh highest passer rating for quarterbacks throwing into a cornerback’s coverage area (119.2).

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