Carl Nicks Injury: "Not hearing great things"

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really have to address offensive guard this offseason, with the latest news on Carl Nicks not being all that positive.

Carl Nicks' recovery from his injury is not going great, Rick Stroud noted on 620 WDAE today (h/t JoeBucsFan), saying that he is "not hearing great things". This conflicts with most earlier reports as well as public comments by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have been cautiously optimistic.

Nicks suffered a torn plantar plate in 2012, and that injury will at minimum cause him pain for the rest of his life. That was complicated in 2013 when he contracted MRSA on the same foot, and a particularly stubborn case that re-surged (or never left) after he played just two games. There's a real possibility that due to the chronic nature of his torn plantar plate, Nicks will not be able to play football again. Even if he returns to football, he's unlikely to be completely back to normal -- although he did still look terrific when he was healthy last year.

This makes guard a massive, massive need -- which really is nothing new. The Bucs did not sign a guard in free agency (instead trading away one of their guards in Jeremy Zuttah). New signing Evan Dietrich-Smith can play guard, but is best at center. The other starting interior linemen are now Jamon Meredith and Oniel Cousins. The former was an adequate fill-in over the past two years, but the second was a total disaster for the Cleveland Browns. And the team's depth consists of former undrafted free agents with no playing experience. Oh joy!

The issue for the Bucs is where to get that so desperately needed reinforcement. No one available in free agency is worth starting, except for the otherwise-troubled Richie Incognito. There are some decent guards available in the draft, but those worthy of a high pick are likely to be gone before they'll get around to their first- (Greg Robinson) or second-round picks (Xavier Su'a-Filo and Zack Martin), and the ones available later are less likely to be immediate quality starters.

Meanwhile, the team has a big need at receiver to fill, and they also want to add a quarterback at some point. One of those positions is likely to be left with a hole somewhere, and that could turn into a big problem as the Bucs move forward.

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