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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Why grabbing Faine makes sense



You probably wanted Randy Moss, but it looks like you'll have to settle for Jeff Faine. I know what you're thinking: a center?

It's not sexy, but the Bucs' first move of free agency -- which we brought to you first in the wee hours of this morning -- is a sensible one. Let's start with the obvious: the Bucs, who haven't actually signed Faine just yet, will be getting the best free agent available at a position that is critical to their success. Remember, with John Wade becoming a free agent, the Bucs didn't have a proven center on the roster. And for those who have suggested Dan Buenning was an option -- that's technically true -- he's a guard and hasn't played center before. What if the projections were wrong and he struggled to make the transition?

As far as the value of this contract, we're not sure of the specific numbers just yet. But we've learned Faine will be the highest-paid center in the game. That means a lot of cash, specifically guaranteed money. You could make a case the Bucs overpaid. Maybe they did.

But here's the thing: to get the top free agent at any position, you have to be willing to pay the price. To the Bucs' credit, they at least spent heavily on a position that was one of their greatest needs. This isn't the Redskins of recent years stockpiling big-money free agents just for the hell of it. This was a calculated move that could pay off handsomely.

The only thing left is to see how this all plays out. No one is accusing Faine of being an All-Pro. But he is an upgrade, so at least Tampa Bay is going in the right direction.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:57pm]


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