Rebuilding the offensive line was a top priority heading into this offseason.
Ozzie Newsome made a big move Sunday to help in that department.
The Ravens acquired interior offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a 2015 draft pick. The exact terms of the draft pick were not immediately disclosed, and the deal is pending a passed physical.
"We said at the beginning of the offseason that we would be adding quality players to our line and Jeremy fits that description,” Newsome said. “We are getting a player who has started at both center and guard, and played well at each position. We're excited to have him as a Raven and believe he can play a significant role for us."
Zuttah, 27, is a six-year veteran who has started at both guard and tackle. The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder has started 30 games at center, 41 at left guard and five at right guard since being selected out of Rutgers in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
“The past six years in Tampa Bay have been great for me, but now I'm looking forward to joining the Ravens and helping them win another championship,” Zuttah said. “That’s just a great atmosphere to be around with Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh, who have won a Super Bowl. It’s a stable environment. It will be great.”
He is signed through the 2015 season, and reportedly carries a $4.5 million salary cap hit this year. However, the Ravens and Zuttah plan on working out a long-term contract extension, which would lower the cap figure for 2014, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“I’m planning to be in Baltimore for a long time,” Zuttah said.
Zuttah could end up playing left guard or center for the Ravens. His exact position likely depends on what the Ravens choose to do with third-year lineman
Zuttah has started at center the last two seasons for the Bucs and he is expected to challenge incumbent center
“I’ve mostly been at center the last two years, a little bit at guard, but I feel most comfortable at center right now,” Zuttah said.
Zuttah did not allow a single sack last season and graded out as the NFL’s 22nd best center last season, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked him as the 24th best center in 2012, and he also did not allow a single sack that season while playing center and left guard.
The trade to Baltimore also reunites Zuttah with running back
“That will be great,” Zuttah said. “I’m sure when he sees the news he’ll be pretty excited too. I’ll have to give him a call when things slow down a little bit. We came up at Rutgers together, and it was fun then, and he makes everybody’s job around him easier.”