The Bucs needed a new right tackle. Gosder Cherilus needed a place to start over.
The sides found each other Monday afternoon when Cherilus agreed to a two-year contract to replace the injured DeMar Dotson on the Bucs’ roster.
Just two seasons ago, Cherilus was the highest-paid right tackle in the league, signing a five-year, $34 million contract with Indianapolis. But injuries slowed Cherilus, and last season, he was ranked 70th of 84 eligible tackles by Pro Football Focus. The Colts cut him earlier in camp.
However, there were suggestions that had much to do with his contract, and he’ll get another chance with the Bucs, who are trying to repair their own offensive line. The Bucs hope that Cherilus, at 31, has enough in him to rebound to help protect rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. They signed him to a two-year, $7 million contract. If they had stayed in-house, the likely replacement would have been Kevin Pamphile, who had only two career starts. (Cherilus has 100.)
“We needed some offensive line help,” Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith said. “It’s good that a player like that is available. From my time in Chicago, we did a lot of research on him when he came out. Of course, I had a chance to play against him for quite a few years.
“(Signing a veteran is) very important. We have a very good tackle that is down – veteran tackle that is down for a while. I feel like we need to replace him. That said, I think yesterday or maybe even today too, it was good for us that there was a player like that (Cherilus) that’s possibly available. Again, I can’t wait to leave you guys go and have a conversation with (Cherilus), but it’s good to have a player like that still available.”