Another long-time Bucs offensive lineman was released on Thursday as left tackle Donald Penn joined guard Davin Joesph as players cut as a cost-saving measure by new head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht. Penn joined the Buccaneers in 2006 and has started over 100 straight games since 2007.
The Buccaneers continued their cost-cutting roster purge by releasing veteran offensive tackle Donald Penn on Thursday. Tampa Bay moved quickly in free agency to sign Cincinnati offensive tackle Anthony Collins, who will presumably take over Penn's left position with the Bucs. The team could ultimately play Collins at right tackle and move Demar Dotson to left tackle if the versatile Dotson is deemed to be a better fit there.
Penn struggled mightily in 2013, surrendering the second-most sacks (11) by tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. Penn, who will turn 31 this year, gave up three sacks to St. Louis' Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn in the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Rams in Week 16.
The release of Penn frees up $6.75 million in salary and comes just days after the Bucs longest tenured player, Davin Joseph, was also released, giving Tampa Bay an additional $6 million in cap relief. Penn's $333,333 worth of prorated signing bonus money becomes dead salary cap space, which results in a net gain of $7,416,665 salary cap room for the Bucs.
Tampa Bay signed Penn to a six-year, $41.7-million contract extension on July 31, 2010. The new deal was filled with weight clause incentives as Penn has struggled with his weight throughout parts of his Bucs career, which has negatively impacted his play. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Penn had two years remaining on his contract.
Penn joined the Buccaneers in 2006 when he was signed off of the Vikings practice squad after entering the league with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent. Penn entered the Bucs starting lineup early in the 2007 season and started every game after that, proving to be one of the most durable and dependable left tackles in the NFL.
During his Buccaneers career Penn started 108 consecutive games. His run of consecutive games at left tackle for Tampa Bay was the longest current streak among Buccaneers offensive linemen, and the third-longest among all active tackles in the NFL.
The former Utah State product was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after the 2010 season, one that saw him surrender just 3.5 sacks in 16 starts.
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