Bucs coach Lovie Smith said he feels fortunate an experienced player such as Gosder Cherilus was still available after Bucs starting right tackle Demar Dotson suffered a left knee injury in Saturday's preseason loss at Minnesota.
Cherilus, 31, who was released by the Colts last month for salary cap reasons after he was slow to heal from arthroscopic knee surgery, has started 100 games in the NFL for the Lions and Colts. After a visit Monday, Cherilus agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $7-million with the Bucs.
Cherilus will earn $2.5-million in 2015 and $4.5-million in 2016.
Dotson could miss as much as 10 weeks recovering from a left MCL sprain against the Vikings. The Bucs likely in-house replacement would've been tackle Kevin Pamphile, who has only two NFL starts. Tampa Bay already is likely to start rookies Donovan Smith at left tackle and Ali Marpet at right guard.
Pamphile missed Monday's practice with a sore triceps, but that injury is not considered serious.
"He was in for a visit. Demar went down. We needed some offensive line help,'' Bucs coach Lovie Smith said of Cherilus. "It's good a player like that is available. From my in Chicago, we did a lot of research on him when he came out. And of course, we had a chance to play against him for a few years so tomorrow I should be able to talk more about him.
"It's very important. We have a very good veteran tackle who is down for us for a while, so we felt like we needed to replace him. It's good for us there's a player like that who is possibly available...it's good a player like that was still there.''
The 6-foot-7, 313-pound Cherilus was the 17th overall pick by the Detroit Lions out of Boston College. Cherilus was weighing opportunities with the Vikings and Chiefs when he signed with Tampa Bay. The Vikings lost tackle Phil Loadholt to an Achilles injury in the same preseason game.
Smith said Dotson does not require surgery but would not give any details about his injury.
"We have the medical reports in, but I'm just not going to go into detail on things like that,'' Lovie Smith said. "He's out. We brought another player in. You saw Demar is on crutches right now. He's not playing this week. He's going to be out for a period of time. Hopefully, not a long period of time, but he'll be out for a while. And to be truthful, that's all I know. Of course, I know the injury and all that…but he won't be playing for a while.''