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March 13, 2014 @ 10:17 am
Current rating: 4.50 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Continue To Overhaul O-Line, Sign Collins To 5-Year Deal

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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The Buccaneers' overhaul of their offensive line continues with the expected signing of Cincinnati's Anthony Collins, who has the versatility to play left or right tackle. The signing of Collins to a lucrative long-term deal likely means the end of left tackle Donald Penn's tenure in Tampa Bay.
After signing former Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson, the Buccaneers added another Bengals free agent by signing offensive tackle Anthony Collins. Collins signed a five-year, $30 million deal, according to reports.

The addition of Collins, who is expected to play left tackle, but can also play right tackle, makes veteran Donald Penn expendable. Penn, who will be 31 this year, has started 108 consecutive games at left tackle since taking over the position in 2007. Penn was scheduled to earn $6.75 million in base salary and have a salary cap value over $8 million in 2013. Penn struggled last year, and according to Pro Football Focus, gave up the second-most sacks (2011) in the NFL at his position.

Collins, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Kansas, had a solid 2013 season playing in 15 games for Cincinnati with eight starts, filling in at times for injured left tackle Andrew Whitworth and replacing right tackle Andre Smith for poor play on a few occasions. According to Pro Football Focus, Collins played in 389 pass plays last year, allowing no sacks, just one quarterback hit and 14 QB pressures. With the Bengals investing heavily into Whitworth and Smith, Collins was deemed expendable once his contract demands were more than Cincinnati was willing to pay.

The athletic Collins, who was a teammate of former Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib at KU, is known as a solid technician with quick feet and great hands. He's also a smart player, evidenced by just three holding penalties, two false starts, two illegal formations and one unnecessary roughness penalty in 53 NFL games.

In six seasons, Collins has yet to play in all 16 games, and his eight starts last year was a career high. But the Bucs feel he has developed enough to become a full-time starter, and have been encouraged by the fact that the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder has not given up a sack in the last 37 games, including 13 starts.

Tampa Bay's offensive line was in need of a major overhaul this season as the unit was the NFL's highest paid last year, totaling $31.695 million. The Bucs spent $55.787 million on offense as a whole, so the $31.695 million represents 56.8 percent of that allocated money. No team in 2013 spent more money on the offensive line or had a higher percentage of spending on the offensive line than the Bucs.

On Saturday, the Bucs released right guard Davin Joseph, freeing up $6 million worth of salary cap space. The Bucs still have a hole there, so the team is far from done overhauling its offensive line. There is a chance the Bucs could release offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah, who has started at center and guard during his career, or force him to take a pay cut as he is scheduled to earn $4.25 million in base salary in 2014.

Tampa Bay could pursue Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, who played for new Buccaneers offensive line coach George Warhop in Cleveland last year, and also for new Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford when he was the head coach at the University of California. Although obtaining Mack could prove to be difficult as the Browns have placed the transition tag on Mack, giving them to chance to match any free agent offer.
Last modified on Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:18
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  • avatar


    I have no problem with what we have done. Zuttah might have to take a pay cut as a solid back up at Center and guard. We always have had problems with long term Centers. I would sign one in free agency and in the draft. We need a guard in Free agency and the draft. Who's trade bait now? Goldson, Williams, Martin, Clayborn?
  • avatar

    Lets be honest Penn underperformed last yr and was one of the worst LT's in the league surrendering a ton of sacks and looking like a trunstyle for speed guys like Quinn. Collins is younger and better and will have the same contract so great sign fellas "Go Bucs"
  • avatar

    Penn just became a casualty, he's been released. I liked him, I wish we could of worked something out with him.
  • avatar

    to those of you saying move penn to guard you have no clue about how football actually works. the fact of the matter is that penn not only is incapable of moving forward but he cant even hold his ground he always gets pushed back. in other words he cant play guard. getting rid of penn and signing collins whose actully making less money than penn would have is an excellent move. i actually like zuttah because of his versitility and hope we keep him on the buccs all we need now is another guard, go buccs!
  • avatar


    Good move. So after the major FA moves (and like stlbucsfan I too hope we can make a couple more additions) we have what looks like a descent defense now (not sure it's top-5 or anything but maybe top-10) - larger holes maybe being SAM (unless your sold on Cassillas), Nickel CB (Tillman?)...neither being a huge issue...leaving us with our pathetic offense still, where we have a new QB (but is this a material upgrade?) and new LT (again, upgrade but it's not like we signed Joe Thomas)...how is our offense going to be any better (than THE WORST IN THE WHOLE LEAGUE) at this point....that leads me to conclude that the #7, #38, and #69 picks are set firmly on offense...I certainly hope so!
  • avatar

    Tillman has left tampa I heard. Guess he didnt get the Lovie Treatment.
  • avatar

    We are not going to pay Penn at his current level. He can make more as a tackle being a free agent than what we are willing to pay him, so he will refuse a paycut. Leaving a choice of a sign and trade, or straight trade, or a cut, not a paycut and move to guard.
  • avatar


    From what I hear the Browns are after Schaub as soon as he is released by the Texans so they may not be after a new QB, which means we could have a shot at a real good QB at 7, which is our biggest need to prepare for the day when McCown retires or gets hurt. Keep Glennon as a career backup to the one day franchise QB. My ideal line would be Dotson at LT (and Licht says he is going to have him play there in Preseason), Nix at LG, Mack at Center, Zutah or Penn (with a reduced salary) at RG, and Collins at RT. Zutah is super smart and can play any position on the line but he is best at Guard and is good at pull blocking (he was a LT at Rutgers too) and we need to retain him even if we land Mack. I am glad we have Meredith too because he is a quality backup also, and can start at RG if we need him too. If the Bucs want to cut Penn if he won't take a reduced salary, then try to trade him to the Raiders. With the line above we will have super protection for the QB and plenty of holes for our RBs. ' Our OC is going to love it!
  • avatar

    love the signing.... a workhorse professional....but, i still hope penn stays on team in some capacity...salary cut/ right guard?? may be better suited for that spot. if not, hope oakland gives us a 5th or 6th round pick. he's a good guy, and got a bunch still in tank. sorry to see him go. ........................................great work so far by lovie and licht.......hope we continue the overhaul today...with tillman and sanders.... maybe ginn ?? GO BUCS !!
  • avatar


    Good pick up ! Got nervous when Saffold failed his physical with the Raiders. The Raiders have money to burn as I thought they would try and swoop in with big money and steal Collins. Then I remembered it was the Raiders, they can't due anything right. Great FA year for the Buc's, not number 1 but maybe 2 in FA grades. GO BUC'S !
  • avatar


    I guess this just shows how far we were from being a good team for the last few years. As BUCS fans we do seem to focus on the players that have been here for a while and forget that may not be the best players out there. I really like Penn though, but alas it may be time for him to move on. It does seem that the new regime is going to have the players they want and remake this team completely. With the record we have had for the last 5 or 6 years it is most likely a good move. But it is sometimes hard to let go of the players we have come to know and love. I do have to say I have been impressed by what has happened so far. Better or worse it will be at least different. I for one have become disillusioned with things as they were. May the best men become BUCS and we become a real threat to make the play offs very soon. Still concerned about QB situation long term though. GO BUCS!!!!!!! Whoever we are.
  • avatar


    Love this signing! He's great a pass pro and is underrated in the run game he gets push and has heavy hands. I really hope penn stays on the team though as he's still got gas in the tank and is an emotional leader (perhaps a move to guard?)
  • avatar


    Emmanuel Sanders in Tampa currently on a visit. Could our day 3 signings be Tillman and Sanders? I sure hope so.
  • avatar


    Nice. Still a hole to fill at either C or OG. Keep it up!
  • avatar

    It's a good signing, he's a veteran with playing experience and doesn't have an injury or penalty history. The way I see our line unfolding for the year: LT- D. Dotson LG - C. Nicks C- J.Zuttah RG- J.Meredith RT-A.Collins. Zuttah is underrated, he's a great pulling O-lineman and ideally would be a better guard than center..just needs to work on pass pro. and hands at the point of attack. Zuttah is overall a better athlete and familiar with Buc football when compared to Deitrich-Smith (the guy who got stomped by N.Suh). Why would we want GB's center when they clearly had the worst offensive line in football last year??????? I would like to keep Penn as a depth guy if he is willing to cut his salary in half. If not, trade him for a draft pick.
  • avatar


    Today, I'm responding with my heart instead of my head. I know that changes have to be made and perhaps Penn's time has come to move on, but I like this guy. He has been a real Buccaneer and played beyond everybody's expectation as an undrafted player. So if Penn goes as I suspect he will, he has my highest regard as a Buc fan. I wish Penn the very best, he deserves it. Like I said, I Liked the big lug!!
  • avatar

    agreed, Penn has been the emotional leader of the offensive line for years. he solidified our LT spot through some horrible seasons...much respect as he was undrafted and has received constant criticism for his weight. Don't forget he was ranked in the top 100 players of 2012
  • avatar


    One more thing, isn't Penn from California? I think it's a high possibility that he'd be willing to renegotiate his contract to make himself easier to trade if it were to the Raiders.
  • avatar


    If they don't draft a LT they probably think Dotson can man that side, he's more athletic with more up side. Good signing, now get the Packers center, and ship Penn to Oakland for whatever they're willing to give us.
  • avatar


    Wow, these dudes ain't messing around.
  • avatar


    The magical off season continues! What to go lovie and licht. Building a team the right way. Now cut penn and get the 7 mil off of our books. At this rate our draft will be such an interesting one because we could almost draft anyone. I still want Watkins which looks good because Oakland needs oline help now that their guard failed his physical and the browns cut two quarterbacks so they almost have to draft one. Bucs nation lets get amped!
  • avatar

    Don't even look at Cook. Yes he can play in 3 inside OL positions, but reading up on him and talking with a buddy of mine who is a Bengal fan, it would not be worth it. He is basically another Ted Larson. OK for depth, but played himself out of a job by letting too much pressure through and making life tough for Dalton. I don't want to fill up our line with bodies. I want quality and Cook won't be it.
  • avatar


    You'd think that Oakland would be a willing trade partner for Penn, seeing as how the Saffold deal fell through and they have Greg Olsen out there running their offense.
  • avatar


    I love the move. SR, I'm glad you explained why the Bengals were willing to move on from Collins, which was my only concern because he seems to be too good to be true. However, given his age, production and position flexibility I'm surprised he wasn't the first OT signed in free agency. We have a long way to go to know for sure, but we very well may have become one of the smartest teams in the league. The Revis decision will also factor into that, of course. As for Penn, you've come a long way may man from being an UFA to neutralizing D. Ware and J. Peppers and you should be proud of your body of work (last season aside, of course). Good luck to you on your next team!
  • avatar

    Would Penn think about taking a pay cut and moving to the RT position? Can Dotson play any of the G spots? A line with Zuttah, Collins, Penn and Dotson would not be a bad line. Plus you can add the fifth starter through later FA or the draft. If no to any or all of those questions, then I hope we can get a 5th or later for him. After the Safold reversal, I think Oakland may be a good spot.
  • avatar


    Is there a cap hit associated with cutting Donald Penn? Just not sure how he and his large cap number have survived these cuts. Unless someone is offering us a draft pick for him(which I would jump all over if they did) Im not sure why he's still around. Wonder if the Bucs are targeting the guard from Baylor Richardson in the 2nd round as a replacement. He had a bad combine but good tape so theres a chance he falls. Still dont love the Revis move but like always I'll move and like what overall has been done this offseason.
  • avatar


    make it three bengals cook the center just released is better than are center
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