Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Final-Week Signings Begin with Zuttah

Jeremy Zuttah, the rookie offensive lineman selected in the third round this spring, became the fourth of seven 2008 draft picks to reach agreement with the team, signing his initial NFL contract on Wednesday


G Jeremy Zuttah played both guard and tackle at Rutgers and could find a home at center with the Buccaneers

Jeremy Zuttah is the last player listed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' alphabetical roster and, assuming he suits up at some point during the upcoming regular season, he will soon occupy the final spot on the franchise's all-time roster, as well.

But Zuttah will not be the last player on the 80-man roster to reach contract agreement as training camp looms. On Wednesday, three days before the Buccaneers are set to open camp in Central Florida, Zuttah signed his first NFL deal. As is team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Though the Buccaneers still need to trim four players from the roster to get down to the NFL-mandated limit of 80 men for training camp, the signing of Zuttah did not force a complementary transaction. The Bucs still had one open spot as defensive end Greg White, an exclusie rights free agent, remains unsigned and does not yet count against the limit.

Zuttah, a versatile offensive lineman from Rutgers, is the fourth of the team's seven 2008 draft picks to get his deal done, and the highest-drafted Buc player to sign so far. Still unsigned are first-round cornerback Aqib Talib, second-round wide receiver Dexter Jackson and fifth-round quarterback Josh Johnson. It is likely that Johnson will follow Zuttah's lead soon, leaving just the top two picks to work out their deals before camp begins. General Manager Bruce Allen said Tuesday that he anticipates all of the rookies signing in time for the beginning of camp.

The 83rd player selected overall in last April's draft, Zuttah was the anchor of a Rutgers line that finished first in the nation in 2006 and second in 2007 in fewest sacks allowed. He played both tackle positions as well as left guard as a collegian, settling in at right tackle over the last two seasons. The 6-4, 303-pound Zuttah will be tried initially at the interior line positions with the Buccaneers in an effort to make use of his raw strength and explosiveness off the line. He may get the majority of his camp snaps at center.

Zuttah played in 44 games with 40 starts during his Rutgers career, opening his final 28 contests. According to the Scarlet Knights staff, he did not allow a single sack during the 2006-07 seasons.

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