It’s been a recurring theme throughout the offseason, but once again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need help on their offensive line. With Demar Dotson out for anywhere from six to eight weeks with a sprained MCL, the Buccaneers have a huge void to fill at right tackle and starting Patrick Omameh may not be the answer.
According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman, the Bucs plan to bring in former Indianapolis Colts tackle Gosder Cherilus for a visit. Cherlius, 31, was released by the Colts late last month after financial issues and medical concerns caused him to fall out of favor in the organization.
Two years ago, the Colts signed Cherilus to a five-year, $34.5 million contract, making him the highest-paid right tackle in the game. In his first season under the new deal, the seven-year pro lived up to the investment. However, the following year was a completely different story.
Last season, Cherilus battled groin and knee problems. When he did return to action, Cherilus struggled mightily and was placed on the injured reserve shortly before the start of the playoffs.
Over the offseason, Cherilus underwent a knee scope. The recovery took longer than expected as he failed to return in time for OTAs and mini-camp. Second-year player Jack Mewhort has done well in the veteran’s absence. So well that after both sides were unable to restructure Cherlius’ contract, the Colts decided to release him.
The decision to cut Cherilus saved the Colts a significant amount of money, even though a portion of his deal will count against the organization’s cap for 2016. Since the release, Cherilus’ agent Greg Diulus has reassured teams in a statement that his client is “very healthy and in great shape.” The Buccaneers will find that out for themselves on Monday.
Cherilus could be a good addition to the Bucs’ offensive line, but only if the injuries are truly behind him. The knee and groin problems appeared to be the catalyst for his poor performance last season while the opportunity to save the Colts money going forward is why he is no longer on the roster.
With Ali Marpet making progress towards becoming the starting right guard in Week 1, the Bucs need to have a solid veteran presence playing alongside him. Dotson was supposed to be that guy, but injuries prevented that from happening. Can Cherilus be a good band-aid for the problem? It doesn’t hurt to just see what he can do.
UPDATE: The Bucs have signed Cherilus to a two-year deal.
No word yet on the specifics of the contract.
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