After writing stories on three reasons to love and three reasons to hate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing Vincent Jackson, it seemed like a good idea to write similar stories on the other signings as well. Here's the 'love' version for new Buccaneers left guard Carl Nicks.
1. Carl Nicks is one of the best offensive guards in football
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid a pretty penny for guard Carl Nicks, but he is arguably the best offensive guard in football. He is huge and nimble, has the power and technique to dominate in both the run game and pass game and has been productive for years on end. He's never missed a game in his career and he has never been out of the starting lineup since entering it. Nicks is a two-time Pro Bowler, and was voted a second-team All-Pro in 2010 and a first-team All-Pro in 2011 - an impressive feat for a four-year starter at guard, where the veterans usually get all the postseason honors. In short: Nicks is a premium player, and the Bucs massively upgraded by adding him.
2. With the addition of Carl Nicks, the Bucs may have the best interior offensive line in the NFL
Pro Bowler Davin Joseph at right guard, quality starter Jeremy Zuttah at center and All-Pro Carl Nicks at left guard - can you name me a better interior line in the NFL, at least in terms of invididual quality? The Bucs have focused heavily on developing both the offensive and defensive line, and they have created one of the most dominant groups in the league - in potential, at least. This should allow them to run the ball between the tackles very well, whoever lines up in the backfield (as long as he isn't named Lumpkin).
I've long believed that the interior offensive line is more important for a team than the offensive tackles when the team has a quarterback who can feel the rush and step up into the pocket. Drew Brees has turned into a dominant player with that ability despite his consistently subpar offensive tackles, and Josh Freeman has shown that he can do the same - pocket presence was one of the few things he greatly improved on in 2011. The Bucs seem to believe the same.
3. Carl Nicks hasn't even entered his prime yet
Football players often enter their prime from age 27 through age 30 - and then the decline starts. The exact ages change depending on the position and the individual player, but one thing is clear: Carl Nicks has lots of football ahead of him. He will be 27 once the season starts, and the Bucs have locked him up for five years. That should mean the Bucs added him to the team for essentially the entire prime of his career.