The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today announced that they have signed former Colts right tackle Gosder Cherilus to a two-year contact, and he will reportedly be paid $2.5 million this season.
The move for Tampa Bay makes plenty of sense, as starting right tackle Demar Dotson suffered a sprained MCL and will be out for around eight weeks. The Bucs needed a veteran presence up front to help protect rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, and with Dotson now out for half of the season, the move to bring Cherilus in to fill the void was a smart one.
Of course, that's providing that he really is healthy. In 2013 with the Colts he was a good player, but during an injury-plagued 2014 season he struggled massively. There were legitimate injury concerns about him all offseason and he didn't participate at all in offseason workouts, and the Colts took a wait and see approach all along. Shortly before training camp began, the Colts made the move to part ways with Cherilus - that sound like it was, at least in part, due to financial reasons. According to reports, Cherilus is now healthy and ready to return to the field and contribute to a team. If that really is the case, there's reason to think he might be able to reach the level of play he was at in 2013.
The two-year signing is interesting, in part because the Bucs are pegging Donovan Smith as their starting left tackle. I can't imagine they signed Cherilus for just the four-to-six games Dotson is expected to miss -- which might mean that Dotson is hurt worse than the Bucs let on, or that either Cherilus or Dotson could move to left tackle or right guard once both are healthy. For now, though, the Bucs have adequately filled the biggest hole on their offensive line.
According to FOX Sports' Peter Schrager, Cherilus had offers on the table from two teams but decided that he "didn't want to be anywhere else" than Tampa Bay. A former first round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2008, Cherilus spent the first five seasons of his career in Detroit, playing in 75 games and starting 71. The Indianapolis Colts then signed him as a free agent in 2013, making him the highest-paid right tackle in the game at the time. In his two years with the Colts, Cherilus played in and started 29 games.