By Eric Schmidt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have invested heavily in their defensive line over the past two years but the unit has struggled to stay healthy, injuries have plagued the interior defensive line during the same period. Last season, as injuries continued to mount, Tampa Bay was forced to sign veteran defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in order to fill a void on the line. On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a step towards providing some much needed veteran experience and depth to the unit.

Tampa Bay agreed to a one-year deal with defensive tackle Amobi Okoye worth a reported two million dollars. This is a strong signing for the Buccaneers. They add a veteran player which has already started 59 games in the NFL but a player which is just 24 years of age.

Okoye is a former first-round pick of the Houston Texans, drafted in 2007. Last season he played for the Chicago Bears. Chicago wanted to retain the free agent but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Several teams were reportedly interested in Okoye but the Buccaneers were able to reach an agreement.

In his five-year NFL career, Okoye has recorded 165 tackles and 15 sacks. He has only missed two games in five seasons. He is projected at this point to be on the depth chart behind Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. However, given the injury issues facing the unit, Okoye might find himself starting at some point in 2012 if that trend continues.

This signing continues the trend of a very strong free agency period for the Buccaneers this offseason.

 

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