Faine deal done, but that may not be it

Jeff Faine appears to be a done deal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Bucs may not be done today. Two other players are confirmed to be meeting with the Bucs today. Get the story, plus link to our exclusive rumor mill of player meetings, analysis and more.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their biggest splash in free agency in recent memory when they signed free-agent center Jeff Faine to the richest contract ever awarded a NFL center.

The Bucs and Faine agreed to a deal that would pay Faine $37.5 million over the next six years, should he fulfill the life of the deal. But Faine will make $15 million guaranteed and could make upwards of $20 million in the first three years of the deal.

The Buccaneers confirmed the deal at 8:47 p.m. Friday.

"I'm really excited to be part of the Buccaneers franchise and have the opportunity to work with Coach Gruden and my new teammates," said Faine. "I'm especially looking forward to working in this offense and helping Tampa Bay defend the NFC South title."

The Buccaneers also announced the signing of restricted free agent Antoine Cash.

With $44 million in cap space entering free agency, the Buccaneers were expected to be major players in free agency for the first time in years.

Faine, a fifth-year pro, solidifies a position of need for the Buccaneers, who allowed veteran center John Wade to leave via free agency and only have Dan Buenning — who has never played a game at center — under contract at the position.

Faine began his career in Cleveland after the Browns made him a first-round pick in 2003. The Browns dealt Faine to New Orleans in 2006 and Faine became an immediate starter for the Saints.

While Faine is only 6-foot-3 and 291 pounds, he is considered an above-average tactician and excels at recognizing defenses. He'll anchor a young offensive line that features Davin Joseph and Arron Sears at guard and Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle.

Faine may not be the only signing on Friday. Chicago tight end John Gilmore's agent, Chafie Fields, told Bucsblitz.com that he and his client were late for their meeting with the Buccaneers on Friday night due to airport delays and will likely meet with the Bucs on Saturday.

The Bucs called Gilmore at 12:15 a.m. on Friday to express interest in the third-string tight end considered an above-average blocker but who had fewer than 20 career catches.

Fields said that earlier reports on Friday that the Bucs and Gilmore had agreed to a three-year contract were not correct.

"Hopefully we can get something done," Fields said.

The Bucs also hosted New Orleans wide receiver Devery Henderson on Friday, a visit confirmed by the office of Henderson's agent, Jimmy Sexton. Kansas City defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson also visited the Buccaneers on Friday.

There were several other reports of visits or scheduled visits on Friday as well, as it appeared the Bucs were intent on making an impact on their roster this weekend.

Want to hear the rest of the rumored player visits and player moves that could affect the Bucs? Click here to access the story.

How does the signing of center Jeff Faine affect the Bucs, and what exactly are they getting? Click here for the inside scoop.

Did you miss the second part of our Interactive Free Agency blog? Matthew Postins answered your questions about free agency and the draft. Click here for the blog in review.

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