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March 9, 2014 @ 8:50 pm
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Report: Bucs Primed To Add Bengals OT Collins; Possibly Saffold

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Bucs were quiet in free agency out of the gate last year outside of signing FS Dashon Goldson, but according to multiple reports, Tampa Bay has its eye on a number of high-profile free agents, with the latest rumors having the Bucs looking to overhaul the offensive line. Tampa Bay could strike early once free agency opens on Tuesday afternoon.
The release of right guard Davin Joseph, a six-year starter, on Saturday could be just the start of a complete overhaul of Tampa Bay's offensive line. With the extra $6 million in salary cap savings, and now approximately $25 million dollars in cap room, reports late Sunday night say that the Bucs have a strong interest in Bengals tackle Anthony Collins and St. Louis Rams guard/tackle Rodger Saffold.

The free agent tampering season, which is now condoned by the NFL, began on Saturday with teams being able to talk contract parameters with agents regarding their free agent clients, although no deals can be finalized and signed until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, which is the official start of the 2014 NFL season.

If it happens, the signing of Collins could mean the end of the road for Bucs left tackle Donald Penn, who is scheduled to make $7.3 million (including prorated money, workout and weight clause incentives). Penn had a down season, and according to some independent scouting websites, gave up the second-most sacks in the NFC at his position in 2013.

Collins, a fourth-round pick in 2008, had a solid 2013 season for Cincinnati. While the Bengals have interest in re-signing Collins, a deal wasn’t worked out before the three-day window to talk to prospective teams began on Saturday.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Bucs and Collins have worked out parameters on a deal worth between $6-7 million per season. The Buccaneers offensive line was the most expensive in football last year and struggled mightily last year. As a result, other players besides Joseph could end up ultimately pay the price.

Also late Sunday, it was reported that the Buccaneers had interest in the versatile, but oft-injured Saffold, who can play guard or tackle. According to reports, Saffold has told the Rams he will sign elsewhere. Later, reports have the Oakland Raiders as the favorite to obtain his service. The Raiders have the most salary cap space available with approximately $60 million of room.

Early Sunday morning, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, reported that the Buccaneers are making a big push to pursue a very big defensive end in Cincinnati’s Michael Johnson. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Johnson was franchised last year by the Bengals following a career-high 11.5-sack campaign, but underwhelmed with just 56 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. That prompted Cincinnati to opt to re-sign fellow defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a big contract extension instead of Johnson. The Bengals drafted Johnson’s replacement last year in second-rounder Margus Hunt and will not be re-signing him.

Johnson, a former third-round pick in 2009, is only 27 years old and has plenty of upside. He’s also one of the hottest free agents this year as seven teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, who hired former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as the team’s head coach this offseason, have already shown interest in Johnson. Apparently Tampa Bay is one of the most interested teams.

Tampa Bay’s chances of signing Johnson was thought to be helped when Minnesota agreed to terms with their own defensive end, Everson Griffen on Sunday afternoon.

 Johnson, who entered the league with 4.69 speed in the 40-yard dash, has recorded 26.5 sacks, 205 tackles, 25 passes defensed, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in five years, but only has one double-digit sack season, which came in 2012. His previous best was a six-sack campaign in 2011.

The next few days will be full of reports and rumors, but until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. no one can officially sign a player, and other teams could come out of nowhere with bigger or more attractive offers. Keep checking back with PewterReport.com often for the latest free agency news and also checkout our free agency previews for every position that have been published.

– Scott Reynolds contributed to this report

Last modified on Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:44

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  • avatar

    This is George Hicks again I think OT ANTHONY COLLINS would be a perfit to replace Donald Pinn and saved 7 millions plus in this year salary cap. Tampa could again look towards the draft in a OG/C through this year draft a lot early then Tampa was going to get a og/c player.GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Penn did good in 2011; didn't he sign a big contract right after that. You would think that he would have reported in better shape in 2013; oh yeah, he did compared to 2012.
  • avatar

    I really like both Collins and Saffold as FA prospects. I will say that I think Penn has been a better player for the Bucs than D. Joseph was on the field and will be sadder to see him go. He was voted one of the top 100 players in the league after the 2011 season, which Joseph has never been on that list. Penn has never been a good run blocker, but he has shut down D. Ware, J. Peppers and other great pass rushers in this league despite his weight (which was lower than ever last year...don't forget that guys). But I nor anyone else can ignore just how crappy a season he had last year. This is a "What have you done for me lately" business and with a new regime I could understand Penn getting the boot. Collins was clearly a better player last year and is younger.
  • avatar

    Watching games last year I was constantly upset (livid actually) with Penn's performance. In years where he has kept his weight somewhat in check he has done well. It saddens me because he could have been a GREAT player, HOF caliber, but he couldn't control his diet. I will not be sad if the BUCs release him. He has had his chance and failed - his fans, his team, but mostly himself.
  • avatar

    I think the Bucs would be better served drafting a tackle then signing a free agent. Since Dotson comes on the cheap, I'd rather see them move him to L.T., and go after a more affordable R.T. in free agency. Still think a top L.T. will be there at seven that's the way I'd go. I think the Bucs are trying to fill these holes not so much that they'll have more choices at seven,but I think they want to move down, and aquire more picks.
  • avatar

    Even if we sign Cincy's LT doesn't mean they have to cut Penn. They could have him compete for a Guard position at a reduced salary. I hope this goes through and we sign Johnson too. They need to be trying to sign a MLB too since there don't seem to be lower round MLBs suitable for Tampa Two. However, I wish Licht and Lovie would look at the film on Najee Goode playing MLB in the Redskin Preseason Game last year where Goode proved he could cover the pass and got a pick 6 and also was effective against the run from sideline to sideline from MLB and was the most valuable player for that game but stupid Schiano cut him. If Licht could get him back we could shift Foster to SLB, his natural position. We also do not need Donald early in the draft either if we just draft Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse, in the fourth round. He had ten sacks this year and many tackles behind the line of scrimmage and lived in the backfield during the Shrine Game. Pick up McCluster in free agency and we have our slot back and returner, and then all we need is Tillman in Free Agency and Bortles or. Carr in the first round. Resign Lorig who can even fill in as a TE if need be and is a dependable FB.
  • avatar

    Well, I'm intrigued by Coach Smith's choise of free agents.
  • avatar

    Where's the petition to get the uniforms back to the old ones(the good ones)?
  • avatar

    See the picture above? The Bengal's haven't strayed from what works!
  • avatar

    I admit I have some questions about some of the latest rumors from "sources" deep inside but I am trying to keep an open mind and trust that the new Bucs management/coaches know what they are doing. Mark, I am curious to know if you and Scott think like I do that perhaps the Bucs will wait and make one announcement for a number of changes to the roster perhaps later in the week or will things just continue to dribble out? I would really like to hear Bucs news from them or local media like you rather than through twitter or via The Baltimore Sun. I can't help but be curious as to how Wilson seems to privy to so much Bucs info.
  • avatar

    In the last paragraph I kind of cautioned that things change, and anything can still happen. And also remember the majority of these leaks are by the player's agents who use reporters as pawns to help drive their clients prices up. Not all but some. But the reports are out there and we would be negligent to ignore them. The Bucs, as are most clubs, are extremely tight lipped. I do think that they wanted to free some money to begin these negotiations, and depending on what free agents are receptive, they can continue to make moves to free more money. I am not sure they want to just dump salaries until they are confident that they will in fact reach agreements with targeted players. That is my take, and I could be wrong, but looking at it for a few days, it makes the most sense to me.
  • avatar

    I have been clamoring for the Bucs to draft a LT in this upcoming draft as Penn looked fat and slow last yr. This will be a good signing if it happens and if we sign Johnson too we can draft best available in the draft crossing fingers Watkins falls, I wouldnn't be surprised to see Bucs draft Broyles with that pick though
  • avatar

    Zero sacks won't happen if he comes to Tampa with Glennon holding the ball to long. Good idea to build the OL this year and get a real QB next year.
  • avatar

    correction: Collins turned 28 in November and I should add that for league year 2013, Collins allowed zero sacks, Penn had the second most sacks in the league.
  • avatar

    Collins sounds like a good pick, not so much on Saffold. Saffold might be good but if he is not on the field he will be no help.
  • avatar

    I wonder if Donald Penn has read this? 3/9: "Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins is expected to sign with the Buccaneers for between $6.5 million to $7 million provided that he doesn't re-sign with the Bengals." - Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun, Penn is 6-5, 335 and will be 31 in April. Collins is 6-5, 315 and turned 29 in November. In Matt Miller’s Top 35 NFL LTs, Penn is ranked at 18, Collins is ranked at 16. This is not a good omen! Doesn’t matter whether this deal goes thru or not, it says they are looking for Penn’s replacement. I got out of the prediction business earlier today. Lol. So I’m not saying what will happen, but the signs look ominous!
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