The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have cut Jeff Faine, the team’s veteran center, after four injury-plagued seasons. Since 2008, his first season in Tampa, Faine has played in every game in the season just once. Compare that with newly signed Carl Nicks who in the same span has missed just three games total and it’s obvious the Bucs wanted a player with a better track record in staying healthy.
They also wanted to save money.
The other side is the Buccaneers have freed up around 6 million dollars in cap space by releasing the 31 year-old center. Tampa entered free agency with around 43 million dollars in space originally but have filled 30 million dollars of that allotment in the first 24 hours. This move should give the Bucs between 18-20 million dollars of space and also gives them the flexibility to pursue other free agent options while still keeping enough in reserve to sign draft picks.
Jeff Faine, for some of his faults, was a solid player for the Bucs. He did struggle to stay healthy and his play was streaky but he was invaluable in developing Josh Freeman (helped him learn the protections) and has served as a leader both on and off the field.
Unfortunately this is a business and after giving an extension to Jeremy Zuttah, who is better at center than Faine, the writing was on the wall.
The Bucs interior line, with Zuttah, Nicks and Davin Joseph should be amongst the best in football next year and with even serviceable play from their tackles the run game and pass protection should be exceptional next season.
It’s sad to see Jeff Faine go (maybe not if you’re jaded), but the Bucs got better today.
This was the right move.