One That Got Away?

June 2nd, 2014

Yes, Ravens Super Bowl winning general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh took a look at former Bucs center/guard Jeremy Zuttah and proverbially said, ‘There’s our guy.”

The Bucs traded versatile Zuttah to Baltimore, where he’s impressing already and seems to be a great fit to snap the ball to Joe Flacco, who ironically is often compared to the “quarterback of the future” by the Mike Glennon Mob.

Yeah, Zuttah’s gone and Joe must get over it. But that would be a lot easier if the Bucs had more O-line depth, talent and weren’t targeting Patrick Omameh and Oneil Cousins as potential starters at left and right guard.

Joe could accept the loss of Zuttah better if the Bucs find a way to use their available pile of 2014 salary cap room to restructure and extend Gerald McCoy’s contract. At least Zuttah’s cash savings would be going to good use.

Now, however, Joe is feeling Zuttah’s loss. The Bucs are in a near desperate situation on their O-line. Zuttah, who turned 28 yesterday, had no problem blowing open holes for Doug Martin during Carl Nicks’ absence in 2012. Zuttah played well at right guard in Davin Joseph’s absence in 2008, and he was on the field at center and guard when LeGarrette Blount was gutting NFL defenses in 2010. He has a long track record of sound play and staying healthy.

According to Friday’s Baltimore Sun story linked above, Zuttah didn’t allow a sack last year (Is that accurate?) for Tampa Bay.

Would it have been such a bad thing to have Zuttah competing in Bucs camp? His Tampa Bay contract wasn’t even guaranteed.

New regimes have to make tough decisions. Joe respects that the Bucs’ new O-line plan didn’t include Zuttah. He was no Pro Bowl candidate, but he was a solid, young, healthy, versatile veteran.

Joe’s eager to see whether the Bucs find a way to replace Zuttah’s value this season.

36 Responses to “One That Got Away?”

  1. Meh Says:

    I wouldn’t have minded trading Zuttah, but two things needed to happen. First, we needed to have somebody else at guard. We’ve got nobody. And second, he was worth way more than a 5th. We needed to get actual value if we were going to trade him.

    The guard situation just baffles me. How could they let it deteriorate that badly in this rebuild? It is the one part of this offseason that I just find inexcusable.

  2. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    what do you expect, its a rebuild.

  3. SAMCRO Says:

    Unless Zuttah had become voicetress against the new regime, and rubbed Lovies coat in the wrong direction, I didn’t get the release either. I guess it could have been money, and Zuttah was unwilling to restructure, or he refused to play any position besides center, his release just made no sense to me. Now we are desperate for a good guard and the Ravens are gushing over our mistake.

  4. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    SAMCRO Says:
    June 2nd, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Unless Zuttah had become voicetress against the new regime



  5. Robert Says:

    This is the only move i’ve questioned all off season. He provides depth and experience playing 3 spots on the line. We had the cap room to carry him for 1 more season and the jettison him for a new/younger player.

  6. SAMCRO Says:

    I like my word better. It may not be in the Webster dictionary but it easily describes my meaning. But thanks for the grammar lesson anyway! I could have easily said vocal instead and boisterous just didn’t seem to really fit.

    vocal + boisterous = voicetress

  7. robert8 Says:

    I liked the guy, but he just seemed small to me. + we got a better center in FA He was a manageable backup that was getting starter money

  8. Keith Says:

    Count me in among the puzzled. Trading Zuttah didn’t make us better. What the hell was the plan at guard?

  9. geno714 Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Any chance the Bucs will look at Incognito? Seems Lovie could be the kind of coach that will have a strong influence on his players, and can keep someone like him in line.

  10. Jim Walker Says:

    Letting Zuttah go was a HUGE mistake.

  11. Jim Walker Says:

    The plan at guard seems to be to find cast off scrubs from other teams before and after training camp. Great plan…not.

  12. Harry Says:

    To me, trading Zuttah was a really bad idea. One that from the outside you just don’t understand. To me, it is equal to letting Bennett go last year when you don’t have proven pass rushers.

  13. BFFL Says:

    He’s too small

  14. "Skyline" Says:

    I wouldn’t call this a rebuild just because Lovie said it wasn’t.

  15. Warrior Says:

    The decision to trade Zuttah worries me about their evalutation of talent. This could be as bad as last years loss of Michael Bennett…that worried me too.

  16. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Trading Zuttah and cutting Revis (this year instead of next) were really the only two moves so far that I was adamantly against at the time. However if next year’s 5th rounder we get from Baltimore and Simms (the 3rd rounder we held on to by releasing Revis) are studs then all is forgiven. I am admittedly a Schiano guy (duh…screen name) so was a bit critical of Lovie at first, but he had won my trust with more savvy moves than bad. Go Lovie, Go Bucs…just please add a few more decent O-line guys so I’m not petrified at night with thoughts of MG8 or McCown getting a Joe Thiesman leg break from defenders killing our QB’s

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    SAMCRO Says
    “Unless Zuttah had become voicetress against the new regime…”

    I doubt that happened. Lovie had not even met the players yet at that point.

  18. Bill Says:

    The Ravens are thrilled because they have an average center. Their 2014 center, Gradkowski, wasn’t even that. He was poor. But I do understand people thinking he could ahve stuck at guard.

  19. Macabee Says:

    When Lovie opened the door and I jumped in, I knew it might be a bumpy ride. But I got in with both eyes wide open. Last year 4-12, haven’t been to the playoffs in 6 years, and yes I’m a little nervous, but I knew there were only two players that were bullet proof – Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David.

    If my memory serves me right, the Buccaneers are now up to 70 roster moves since hiring Lovie Smith, more than any other NFL team. Some of the guys I grew fond of got cut or traded, but they were part and parcel of that 4-12 debacle. ProFootballFocus said this about Zuttah – Center/guard Jeremy Zuttah has been consistently average in his career, and his versatility isn’t enough to justify a $4.5 million salary. The Ravens didn’t pay him that either!

    Someone asked “Do they have a plan”? Of course they have a plan! Will it work? I don’t know and they don’t either. But both Lovie and Licht seem convinced that the 4-12 team that we had wasn’t going to work either.

    So I’m in the ride on 22s and dubs or donks, windows all fogged up (I try to keep up with you young guys) and as we go careening around the curves and through the busy intersections of perilous NFL traffic, I’ve never once asked “are we there yet”? lol. I hope you guys are having some fun this season, I know I am!

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I hated seeing Zuttah go, especially when both players are around the same age.

    Here’s the concerns I have about Evan Dietrich-Smith (not quite issues, but concerns):

    He took over for Jeff Saturday and played nine games that season for the packers. The next season he started 16 games and there was talk of a long term deal with the packers.

    But for some reason, they decided against it…even though he was only 27 at the time.

    That’s a red flag for me. There has to be a reason. As far as I can tell, Evan Dietrich-Smith was a good player. He only made under $2 million in 2013. A new deal would not have broken the bank, yet the Packers did not do it.

    The other concern for me is he is a good pass blocker, but not a good run blocker. How bad of a run blocker is he? Well, maybe…maybe that figured into the Packers not signing him to a new deal. I don’t know.

    Regardless, I think other than Verner, he’s one of the best Free Agent signings, even though he turns 28 next month and will be starting his decline in a couple years.

    That said, I still don’t get the giving up Zuttah thing. The Bucs could have moved him back to Guard and he would have mode prime Center backup in case Evan Dietrich-Smith goes down.

    Now, if Evan Dietrich-Smith is injured, we’re screwed.

    Evan Dietrich-Smith though, being a good pass blocker, will be one of the guys to help keep our QB healthy. Too bad we don’t have that all along the line and don’t have a QB that can capitalize on it.

  21. Joe Says:

    Any chance the Bucs will look at Incognito?


    Not just no, but HELL no.

    Lovie just launched a guy for having a mattress in his front yard. You think Lovie is going to bring in a cancer like that? C’mon, man.

  22. cobraboy Says:


  23. John23 Says:

    NO way had to get rid of all those o line they all were just playing like poop all year see ya

  24. BirdDoggers Says:

    Zuttah provided much needed experience and versatility. The Bucs should be fine at center with the signing of EDS. Both guard positions could be a problem and that’s where Zuttah could’ve stepped in and played, as he did in the past. The O-line needs to be above average for the offense to succeed. I’m not sure all the moves during the offseason did much to improve the O-line. We’ll see.

  25. cobraboy Says:

    IMO, Zuttah was mediocre and can be easily replaced.

  26. Phillip Says:


    We already traded that 5th we got for Zuttah to trade up back into the 5th to get Pamphile…

  27. Phillip Says:

    So essentially we traded Zuttah for Pamphile(the actual pick) or to a lesser extent Edwards (both 5th rounders)… They better be right..

  28. Mac Says:

    Zuttah was average at best… He did not deserve the contract he received… Mark Dominik felt it neccessary to overpay him ala Michael Clayton, Jeremy Trueblood, Quincy Black, etc… When Licht took the GM job he mentioned “value” as an important factor to building a solid football team… Zuttah represented a poor “value” so he was traded… I think it was a solid move…

  29. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    One theme that keeps ringing in my head for the past pressers with L&L is “getting value” for the players. That is why Revis was let go. Great player, but his production did not add up to his $1M per game contact, thus a bad value. I think Zuttah and many of the other moves are all about getting good value.

    The other theme I keep remembering is “…but we are a 4-12 team” Changes have to be made.

  30. WobbleBuc Says:

    Zuttah may have been average but with all of the question marks we have along the OLine it would have made more sense to keep him. I wasn’t against the trade as I assumed that L&L had other plans in place to replace him but I’m not sure we got better at the end of the day. EDS may have replaced his position but not his versatility. Only time will tell with the FAs and rookies.

  31. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    @ Phillip

    Good point, I forgot about the draft day deal with Buffalo when I posted. So then I guess we’ll see how the Zuttah trade works out this upcoming season. Average or not I liked the guy for his smarts, versatility, and still in his prime. Gotta keep the faith though and enjoy the positives so far.

  32. BoJim Says:

    “Yeah, Zuttah’s gone and Joe must get over it. But that would be a lot easier if the Bucs had more O-line depth, talent”

    That is one move I will never understand. And with his versatility, I really don’t think he was that overpaid. But Lovie knows what he’s doing and I am but a mere grunt.

  33. Bucsfanman Says:

    Perhaps Zuttah was “average” as many of you put it. But, he was average at multiple positions, something that has value. Nobody “lit it up” last year, that’s obvious! But, they took a dubious line and flushed it down the toilet to create a less than dubious line. Releasing Zuttah will probably hurt us more in the short term(2014) but think of it this way; Out of 5 starting linemen, there’s a decent RT, LG has a toe issue, Penn and Joseph are released, and they traded Zuttah. So, out of 5, you now have ONE.
    I’m not a “sky is falling” kind of guy, but this is concerning. Forget about QB, this is the group to keep an eye on.
    We won a Super Bowl with a hodge-podge line so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to win with this one.
    Is it football season yet?1

  34. pick6 Says:

    some of the cuts we made with over $10m in free cap money are real head scratchers. it’s not like zuttah was a malcontent or couldn’t adapt to another offensive scheme. bruce allen didn’t do much right, but he never let a player walk away until a satisfactory replacement had been secured or the cap room was absolutely needed. yes you made a statement by jettisoning many parts of a 4-12 team, but a metaphor about a baby and bathwater comes to mind when looking at the O line moves. here’s to hoping the carl nicks absences are just more gamesmanship and the guy is ready to rock in training camp

  35. PRBucFan Says:

    ! of the few bad moves L&L have made IMO.

  36. Alex2013 Says:

    Completely agree,100%… We could use a backup center and guard…