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Carl Nicks, Buccaneers part ways with "amicable settlement"

Carl Nicks is an ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer, as he and the team have found a mutually agreeable way for him to depart. Nicks' chronic toe injury has effectively ended his career.

Mike Ehrmann

Carl Nicks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have parted ways with an amicable settlement, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.

The team has since confirmed that Carl Nicks is departing, and Nicks made it sound like a retirement.

"I'd like to thank the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field," said Nicks. "However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it is what is best for me and my family as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

Nicks had missed the first two days of training camp due to "personal reasons", but the Bucs publicly spoke positively of the injured guard. Presumably Nicks isn't officially retiring, as that would mean forfeiting the remaining $7 million in guaranteed money on his contract, but apparently the team and he found mutually agreeable terms whereby he could leave the game.

Nicks' tenure with the Bucs was marred by a chronic toe injury and a MRSA infection, which limited him to just nine games in two years on a five-year, $47.5 million contract. He tore his plantar plate during the 2012 offseason, and that injury will bother him for the rest of his life. Coupled with a MRSA infection on that same foot, those injuries were just too much to overcome.

Nicks looked like a terrific signing in 2012 as arguably the best offensive guard in the NFL, and he lived up to his reputation when he did hit the field for Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, injuries have turned this signing into one of the worst in team history -- which is pretty impressive, given the team's actual history.

Unless Carl Nicks gave up some money in the agreement he and the team reached, the team will save $1 million on this year's salary cap, and will see a $4,714,000 cap hit in 2015, as explained by Gur in his lengthy breakdown of Nicks' contract.

With Nicks off the roster, the Bucs will have to make do with a slew of unproven players. Journeyman Jamon Meredith is almost guaranteed to win one of the two starting spots, but players like Patrick Omameh, Oniel Cousins, Kadeem Edwards and Jason Foster will compete for the other starting guard position. That should be the most intriguing battle in Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp.

There's also a chance the Bucs try to add another veteran to the team, but anyone available in free agency at this point is not going to be a safe bet. The only realistic option of adding significant quality to the position is trading for San Francisco's starting guard Alex Boone, who is holding out of 49ers training camp. That would cost the Bucs both picks and an expensive long-term contract, however, and it's not clear whether they'd be willing to give up so much -- or whether the 49ers would be willing to trade Boone.