Earlier this morning, I had a post written up about why the Bucs should Carl Nicks. Yup, I’m trashing that. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not only signed Vincent Jackson, but they have also added former New Orleans Saints guard Carl Nicks into the mix and gave him an extremely lucrative five-year, $47.5 million deal. The Bucs also signed cornerback Eric Wright, but he’s not of the caliber of either V-Jax or Nicks (those signings will be covered later).
Carl (admit it, you wanted to say “Stevie) Nicks is the best guard in football, so he obviously deserves to be paid like the best guard in football. No arguments there, he deserves the money, and it’s great that the Bucs are actually willing to spend premium money for premium players. Yeah, we’re getting aggressive and things are looking up.
Before looking at the interior of the offensive line, I just want to say how much I hate it when people say that Free Agency isn’t the way to build. So you mean to say that signing established players who immediately increase your team’s value is a bad thing? And this is especially true when your a team like the Bucs that needs talent, veterans, and players who are actually good.
Alright, so the Bucs already have two starting guards who are, more or less, established to this point; Jeremy Zuttah and Davin Joseph. Here’s the thing, isn’t Zuttah a better center than guard? The man with a new four-year contract is a decent guard, but he’s much better at center. That’s pretty much known fact, unless if you haven’t been following the Bucs.
Anyway, Davin Joseph is the other guy who recently signed a long term contract (last offseason), but my view on him is much more harsh than my opinion on Zuttah. Joseph is a subpar player, and I’m not afraid of the backlash I might get for saying that he’s overrated. Because he is. He’s not a good pass blocker, and like recently released (finally!) left tackle Levi Brown, he has two great games each year. It’s almost like he perfectly schedules them so that he gets overpaid and, thus, overrated. And then he has a few average games. And a lot of bad ones.
So you see what I’m saying, anybody that has a vested interest in watching offensive line play, or reading PFF to get that type of information, knows that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t exactly have the best right guard in the NFL; even if some people seem to think so.
Remember what I said about Zuttah playing center? Instead of trying to get a rid of a guy who was given a massive extension, why don’t you release an even worse player who has almost no value? Yeah, that guy; Jeff Faine. I know I exaggerated on Joseph, because he isn’t terrible; he’s just subpar. I have a tendency to be overzealous with my criticism of overrated personalties, especially Kurt Cobain. Joseph isn’t that bad.
However, Faine is quite poor. Nobody knows how he was paid like the highest center in the league, because he wasn’t even a top five center at the time. Heck, he wasn’t even in the top ten. Simply put, he wasn’t a great player and ended up getting paid like one. It’s time to cut him loose, if that’s possible with how much he’s making, and get rid of “The Great Roadblock”. Jeremy Zuttah can succeed, borderline flourish, at the position. Maybe he can become ambidextrous? (Pun intended). Who knows? What we do know is that Faine isn’t the answer, has never been the answer, and will never be the answer.
In an old Stephen Holder article, he wrote that the Bucs- this was before the deal- really wanted to re-sign Zuttah and had him rated highly in their future plans. Which basically means that they are going to move him to center. Since when did a mediocre guard ever rate highly into a team’s plans? Unless, of course, said guard is young with upside and has even more upside if he gets a position change. And that’s not the best of it, Carl Nicks is a left guard. Can you say, change is coming? Forty-six and Two?
Carl Nicks is the demigod of guard play, with his punishing blocking that has no end. He just destroys any defensive player in sight and is impeccable in both pass protection and has a run blocker. This guy is a beast and is the type of player you build an offensive line around. He is the center piece of their line. If you look back at the 2010 Saints, the tackle play was terrible. People were getting to Brees from the outside, yet his interior was motionless, still, and clean. Give credit to Nicks for that, because Jahri was having a down year in ’10.
So yeah, Nicks is a beast. Faine isn’t. Zuttah can become a fixture at center. The obvious decision is to either find a way to get rid of Faine, or let him sit there and pay him for being a back-up. You can also release him and have to pay some cap penalties, because I’d rather pay some money while he does nothing than everything in order to watch him do nothing. You know what I mean? Bottom line is, Faine has to go. The Nicks deal means that they can’t afford to keep paying Faine his full contract, because he isn’t even good. If he was Ryan Kalil or Chris Myers, then that would be different. But he isn’t. He’s Jeff Faine. It’s time to give the better and younger Zuttah his chance under a new extension, and let Carl Nicks kill it at left guard.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.