Buccaneers trade Jeremy Zuttah to Ravens for draft pick

Jeremy Zuttah is a Baltimore Raven after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded him away.

Update: The Bucs are receiving a 2015 fifth-round pick in this trade, per Rick Stroud.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded Jeremy Zuttah to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 2015 NFL draft pick, the Ravens have announced. The Bucs are saving $4.5 million in cap space by trading their starting offensive center.

Jeremy Zuttah was a third-round pick for the Buccaneers in 2008, who has started at center and both guard spots, generally faring better at center than at guard. Zuttah was rewarded with a long-term contract under Greg Schiano, but that long-term contract was apparently worth just two years on the Bucs' roster.

The new Buccaneers regime has been hard at work ridding the team of expensive players, especially along the offensive line. Earlier this offseason, starting linemen Donald Penn and Davin Joseph were released, while signing center Evan Dietrich-Smith. Carl Nicks, the starting left guard, is still dealing with a toe injury and a subsequent MRSA infection and may not be able to play football again, although reports on his progress have been positive. The current starting offensive line would consist of Anthony Collins, Carl Nicks(if healthy), Evan Dietrich-Smith, Jamon Meredith and Demar Dotson, with Oniel Cousins being the only backup with any kind of NFL experience.

It's not clear what, exactly, the Bucs are going to do with this cap space. They should have between $11 and $14 million in space, which is enough to make a few extra signings. The team has made it clear that they want to spend to the cap as well as fill all over their holes in free agency, but not many options remain for them, and they've just created another  hole along the interior offensive line. They could trade for DeSean Jackson or pursue franchise-tagged Alex Mack, but either option would be very expensive and somewhat unlikely.

The Bucs now also have a renewed hole at offensive guard, where they're one Carl Nicks toe stub away from starting Oniel Cousins, who probably should not be starting or subbing in, ever. The top available offensive guards are Travelle Wharton, Uche Nwaneri, Davin Joseph and Richie Incognito, but none of those really fit the team's apparent free agency philosophy, which steers away from older players. The draft has decent depth at the position, but the Bucs are likely to want to fill this hole before it comes to that.

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