Bucs agree to three-year deal with Petitgout

Updated: March 7, 2007, 9:15 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the first step toward revamping their offensive line on Tuesday, signing unrestricted free agent tackle Luke Petitgout to a three-year, $15.5 million contract.

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Tampa Bay officials also initiated talks with another unrestricted tackle, Jordan Black of Kansas City, and hope to complete a deal with him as well.

Released by the New York Giants two weeks ago, in part for salary cap reasons and because of the team's desire to move guard David Diehl to tackle, Petitgout figures to step right into the starting left tackle spot in Tampa Bay. The position has long been a problem area for the Bucs and coaches are confident Petitgout can solidify it.

The three-year contract for Petitgout includes a $3 million signing bonus. He will earn a base salary of $2 million for 2007, along with a $1 million roster bonus. In 2008, he is due a spring roster bonus of $1.75 million and a base salary of $2.5 million. There is a similar roster bonus in 2009, with a $3.5 million base salary.

Petitgout, 30, is coming off a 2006 season in which he appeared in just nine games. He sustained a fractured left fibula in November and the Giants, feeling he might be able to return late in the year or for the playoffs, kept him on the active roster. Finally, in late December, he was moved to injured reserve.

An eight-year veteran, Petitgout has appeared in 113 games and has been a starter in 106 of them. The former Notre Dame star was the Giants' first-round choice in the 1999 draft.

Although somewhat inconsistent as a run-blocker throughout his career, Petitgout has always been technically sound in pass protection. He has, though, dealt with from chronic back problems for much of his career, and when they flare up, his performance has suffered.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.