The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed free agent guard Carl Nicks to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with $31 million in guarantees per Adam Schefter. By signing both Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson, the Buccaneers have managed to sign the two most coveted free agents on the offensive side of the ball outside Peyton Manning. That's a major coup for a franchise that has steered away from free agency over the past three seasons.
This deal represents the richest deal for a guard in the NFL, but Nicks may be worth it: he is arguably the best offensive guard in the league. It seems likely that the $31 million in guarantees represents the first three years of salary, as the Bucs have steered away from signing bonuses in recent years. With Davin Joseph, Jeremy Zuttah and now Carl Nicks, the Bucs have invested heavily in the interior offensive line in the past two seasons, but they're likely to move on from Jeff Faine, whose $8 million cap hit becomes too much to bear for a backup offensive linemen.
Assuming a cap hit of around $10 million this season on Nicks' contract, and assuming Jeff Faine will indeed be cut, the Bucs have some $25 million in cap space left after this deal. The Bucs are reportedly trying to trade tight end Kellen Winslow, which could free up an additional $6.5 million in salary cap space this season.