2012 NFL Free Agents: Carl Nicks Signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMarch 14, 2012

Carl Nicks is a "monster" signing for the Buccaneers.
Carl Nicks is a "monster" signing for the Buccaneers.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have landed the biggest free-agent catch of all, as Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs have signed Carl Nicks to a five-year, $47 million deal.

ProFootballTalk.com has confirmed that the Bucs have made Nicks the NFL's highest-paid guard with $31 million in guaranteed money. He will earn $9.5 million this season.  

The Bucs have now made massive improvements to their offense, first with wide receiver Vincent Jackson and today with the addition of Nicks, arguably the best offensive lineman in free agency.

The signing of Nicks means that Jeff Faine has most likely played his last game as a Buccaneer. The Bucs intend to move newly re-signed Jeremy Zuttah into the starting center position.

Head coach Greg Schiano want to get physical up front and Nicks, at 6'5" and 340 pounds, is the guy who fits that bill. By signing Nicks, the Bucs have also taken a major talent away from a division rival.

The Bucs now have Nicks, Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright in the fold and have kept true to their statement that they would be major players in free agency.

The one glaring hole that remains is at middle linebacker, where free agents Stephen Tulloch and Curtis Lofton are still available.

In addition to Nicks, the Bucs reportedly signed former Colts backup Dan Orlovsky to a one-year deal, according to thesidelineview.com. The Bucs apparently have taken the stance that Josh Johnson will be signed by another team.