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Bucs Agree On Deal For Faine, Contact Reeves
Posted Feb 29, 2008 by Roy Cummings
Updated Feb 29, 2008 at 05:23 AM
TAMPA – The Bucs didn’t waste much time filling that donut hole in the middle of their offensive line Friday.
The 2008 free-agency signing period wasn’t even two hours old when the Bucs made their first significant move, agreeing in principle on a multi-year deal with former Saints center Jeff Faine.
The deal is contingent on Faine passing a physical but that technicality is expected to be cleared up possibly as soon as today as Faine is expected to visit the Bucs and sign his new contract.
The 6-foot-3, 291-pound Faine was considered to be one of the best centers available this offseason and his contract could reflect that as it is reportedly one of the richest ever given to a center.
Center became an area of need for the Bucs earlier in the offseason when it became apparent they were not going to ask five-year starter John Wade to return.
Faine was one of at least four players the Bucs contacted during the early hours of free agency. They have also contacted the agents for cornerback Jacques Reeves and linebackers Demorrio Williams and Niko Koutouvides.
Reeves is a three-year veteran who has spent his entire career serving as a backup with the Cowboys. He’s being looked at as a possible replacement for Brian Kelly, who opted out of his contract with the Bucs two weeks ago.
He’s considered a raw talent who is not afraid to play the aggressive style of run defense the Bucs like. He is also a sound special teams contributor and a player many believe could excel with proper coaching.
Williams has spent his entire four-year career in Atlanta, where he started all 16 games at weak-side backer last year. He’s considered a superb coverage linebacker and special teams contributor.
He would greatly improve the Bucs depth at both spots, but he’s proving to be a valuable commodity as he already has visits lined up with the Chiefs and Bears, as well as the Bucs, according to Scout.com.
Koutouvides, 26, played for Seattle last year and is no doubt being considered for the backup middle linebacker spot that opened up when the Bucs decided against re-signing Jeremiah Trotter.
He too is considered to be an outstanding special teams contributor but many scouts believe he can excel as a linebacker because of his athleticism and his ability to play all three spots in a 4-3 scheme.
Faine, meanwhile, checks in a tad smaller than Wade but he is considered to be a better pass protector. Like Wade his strength is diagnosing defenses and making line calls.
He originally entered the league in 2003 as a 21st overall pick of the Cleveland Browns, but missed most of his rookie season with an ankle injury.
Another ankle injury cut short his 2004 season after 13 games and a biceps injury ended his 2005 season after 14 games.
He was eventually traded in 2006 to the Saints, for whom he started 16 games in 2006 and 14 games in 2007.