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Jeremy Zuttah to start at center, Jeff Faine out in Tampa?

According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to make the newly re-signed Jeremy Zuttah their starting center. Zuttah has been the starting center on several occasions the past three seasons, whenever Faine was out with an injury. While Zuttah can play left guard, center may be a better fit for the fifth-year offensive lineman.

This move also means that Jeff Faine will likely be cut before the seasons starts. Faine will earn some $6 million in salary this year, while his salary cap number approaches $8 million. That's a lot to pay any center, let alone a center whose play has slipped in recent seasons, who struggles to stay healthy - and who is now, apparently, a backup. In addition, the Bucs wish to be active in free agency, and every extra cap dollar counts. While they don't have to worry too much about hitting the salary cap this season as they are a reported $42.7 million under the cap, cutting Faine would also free up a whopping $9 million in 2013 cap space and give the Bucs more flexibility in signing free agents to extensions, long-term contracts.

Of course, if Zuttah does move over to center, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will need to find a starting left guard. Ted Larsen was the projected starter last year, but he was benched in favor of Zuttah after just one regular season game. Behind Larsen, Derek Hardman is the backup - but he hasn't shown to be reliable, either. The Bucs could select a guard in the draft, but they could turn their eye to free agency as well. The top guard on the market is Carl Nicks, but with right guard Davin Joseph's hefty contract it seems unlikely the Bucs would be willing to sign Nicks to a premium contract. Behind Nicks, Ben Grubbs and Evan Mathis are two guards who are more likely to be of interest to the Buccaneers.