FARGO — Former North Dakota State offensive lineman Joe Haeg will have the chance to block for the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms with Haeg, the team announced Friday, March 20, on the same day former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady officially signed with the Buccaneers.
Brady has won six Super Bowls, the most of any player in NFL history.
"That was crazy," Haeg said. "We knew we had interest in the Bucs before that was officially announced. When that just came in, it was definitely an added bonus. I'm excited. It's going to be a cool atmosphere down in Tampa Bay this year."
The deal is reportedly worth $2.3 million for one year with the chance to make $3.3 million, according to Ian Rapoport, a reporter for the NFL Network.
"We really wanted the one-year deal just to kind of prove it and see where it went," said Haeg, who started 60 games over four seasons at NDSU from 2012-2015. "I'm excited for the opportunity."
The 6-foot-6, 298-pound Haeg played his first four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He played in 55 games during that span, including 35 starts. Haeg, 27, started 29 games over his first two seasons. The past two seasons he made six starts, including no starts last season.
Haeg played in all 16 games in 2019, and played both guard and tackle while in Indianapolis.
"I knew that going into free agency, that would be a big asset and value that I could provide," Haeg said of his ability to play multiple offensive line positions.
Haeg said he had several offers from different teams, including the Colts, but decided the Buccaneers were his best option. The offensive line is considered a Colts strength.
Last season, the five Indianapolis starters on the offensive line started all 16 games.
"I mean, I love the Colts, but I also knew that I would basically be the sixth man no matter what if I signed with the Colts," Haeg said. "I kind of wanted to prove it to myself and go out there and have a real chance to compete."
Haeg said having familiarity with Tampa Bay offensive line coach Joe Gilbert also played a role in his decision. Gilbert was with the Colts during Haeg's first two seasons in Indianapolis.
"I think it just worked out to be a good fit," said Haeg, who went to high school in Brainerd, Minn. "It's going to be fun and I'm happy for how I ended up where I'm at. Everything happens for a reason."
Earlier this week, the NFL offered free access to NFL Game Pass for a limited time. Haeg said with a laugh, he took advantage of that offer to start watching Tampa Bay game film.
Haeg said he will remain in Indianapolis for now due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I set up a little gym in my garage, so we'll make that work so I can still work out," Haeg said.
We've agreed to terms with offensive tackle Joe Haeg on a one-year contract.
We've agreed to terms with offensive tackle Joe Haeg on a one-year contract.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 20, 2020