TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -The Tampa Bay Buccaneers addressed one of their priorities in free agency Friday, signing former New Orleans Saints center Jeff Faine.
The team also announced the signing of linebacker Antoine Cash, who spent last season on injured reserve after appearing in 16 games for the Bucs in 2006.
Upgrading at center is one of coach Jon Gruden's main objectives this offseason. The Bucs also are in the market for help at receiver, running back, cornerback and on the defensive line, where veterans Kevin Carter and Greg Spires were released this week.
Tampa Bay has been unable to pursue many top-tier free agents in recent years, however the club entered this year's signing period about $44 million below the salary cap.
Faine, who turns 27 on April 6, joins an offensive line that was one of the youngest in the NFL at the end of last season. The Bucs rebuilt the unit in the past two drafts, bringing in three new starters with first- or second-round picks.
The 6-foot-3, 291-pound center was drafted in the first round, No. 21 overall, by Cleveland in 2003. He has started all 66 games he's appeared in in five seasons with the Browns and Saints, who acquired him two years ago.
``I'm really excited to be part of the Buccaneers franchise and have the opportunity to work with Coach Gruden and my new teammates,'' Faine said in a statement released by the team. ``I'm especially looking forward to working in this offense and helping Tampa Bay defend the NFC South title.''
John Wade has been Tampa Bay's starting center the past five seasons, however the Bucs opted not to re-sign him.
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