The Buccaneers are way under the 2012 salary cap, and they may start spending some of their money before the free agency period starts.
The first expenditure could be locking up starting left guard Jeremy Zuttah, whose agent told the Tampa Tribune that he believes a long-term contract extension is coming.
“The team wants the player and the player wants the team,” agent Noel LaMontagne said. “That’s the most important progress you can have. The rest just comes down to dollars and cents.”
Zuttah was a third-round draft pick in 2008 out of Rutgers, where he played for new Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. Zuttah is one of two former Rutgers players on the Bucs’ roster; the other is defensive end George Johnson, who ended last season on injured reserve. Zuttah is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, but it may never reach that point because a deal could get done before that.
“It seems the conversation is pointed that way,” LaMontagne said. “It is definitely in the direction where both sides want to get something done, so it’s just a matter of getting pen to paper and figuring out what makes the most sense for Jeremy.”
Zuttah can play both guard and center and has started 44 games for Tampa Bay, including 14 starts last year.