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March 11, 2014 @ 6:34 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Meredith Re-Signed; Collins, Tillman, McCown, Others Visit Bucs

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers added three new players within a few minutes of free agency opening on Tuesday, but also made some other under-the-radar signings, in addition to losing two linebackers. Get a one-stop run down of all the Bucs' transactions in this report, including who is scheduled to visit Tampa Bay.
The 2014 free agency period began with a bang as the Buccaneers agreed to terms with three new players, signing Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and Giants tight end Brandon Myers right out of the gate at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The Buccaneers are far from through as the Darrelle Revis situation is still in limbo with the latest being the Raiders have dropped out of consideration leaving, as of now, just the Cleveland Browns in the running to trade for the Pro Bowl cornerback and absorb his $16 million salary in 2014.

While many were fixated on the possible big names coming to Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers made a handful of other moves, re-signing some of their own free agents, and also seeing a few depart to other teams.

Here is the latest breakdown of some of the under the radar transactions from Tuesday:

OL Jamon Meredith
Meredith has proven to be a valuable backup for the Buccaneers, having filled in at guard for parts of two seasons after injuries to Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. Meredith signed a two-year deal with Tampa Bay and also has added value as a swing tackle capable of playing right tackle or left tackle in a pinch. Meredith's versatility was most likely something that prompted the Buccaneers to keep him.

CB Danny Gorrer
Gorrer battled a hamstring injury in 2013 before ending up on injured reserve after Week 7. The versatile cornerback is best known for dropping a Nick Foles interception that could have sealed the win against the Eagles back in 2012, but has done enough for new general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith to want to see more. Gorrer signed a one-year contract to remain in Tampa Bay.

WR/KR Eric Page
Page showed promising flashes last season as a kick returner, but also had a handful of mental errors and miscues that frustrated the coaching staff. With Dexter McCluster signing with Tennessee, and Devin Hester still not committed any where as of yet, Page could be a backup plan. Page signed a one-year contract as an exclusive rights free agent.

CB Deveron Carr
Carr was signed as an undrafted free agent last spring and started the season on the Bucs practice squad before being promoted to the active roster and seeing primarily special teams action in nine games for Tampa Bay in 2013. Carr signed a one-year contract as an exclusive rights free agent.

OLB Adam Hayward
Hayward has been a valuable backup linebacker and special teams standout over the last seven seasons, but was never able to sustain a starting spot other than occasional fill-in duty. Hayward signed a three-year, $3 million dollar deal with the Washington Redskins, including $300,000 in guaranteed according to reports.

OLB Dekoda Watson

Watson is scheduled to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday night and according to reports could also be set to visit Buffalo and Miami where former Bucs Pro Personnel Director Dennis Hickey is now the Dolphins new general manager. A report earlier in the day stated Watson would not be back with the Buccaneers. The Bucs re-signed starting strongside linebacker Jonathan Casillas last week, which signaled the end of Watson's tenure in Tampa Bay.

QB Josh McCown
Chicago Bears free agent Josh McCown is visiting with Tampa Bay Tuesday evening but is not expected to sign a contract if offered, as he reportedly has at least one visit still to take, which could be Houston, before making a decision. McCown is expected to command a considerable higher salary than 2013 starting quarterback Mike Glennon will earn in 2014, which could speak volumes about the direction Tampa Bay is heading. At the same time, general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith have both stated they expect to add a veteran to the mix in Tampa Bay and McCown, who played for Smith in Chicago, fits that bill.

CB Charles Tillman
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound cornerback has been a big-time playmaker for the Bears during his 11-year career. Tillman has forced an astonishing  42 fumbles and picked off 36 passes, including eight he’s returned for touchdowns. Tillman, who tore his right triceps in a November 10 loss to Detroit, could be a nice, stop-gap option at the cornerback position in Tampa Bay to fortify the Bucs’ pass defense in the pass-happy NFC South division. Age is the only concern about Tampa Bay signing the 33-year old Tillman, who played for Smith in Chicago.

OT Anthony Collins
Collins, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 315 pounds, had a strong 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. Collins has not given up a sack in the last 37 games, including 13 starts.

C Evan Dietrich-Smith
Dietrich-Smith started all 16 games for the Packers in 2013 and is also drawing interest from a number of other teams, including the New York Giants. The agent for Dietrich-Smith confirmed he would be visiting Tampa Bay as early as Wednesday. If signed, the Buccaneers will have a decision to make on center Jeremy Zuttah, who is scheduled to earn $4.5 million in 2014. It is possible Zuttah could be kept and moved to right guard to replace Davin Joseph, who was released on Saturday.

LB Dane Fletcher
Fletcher was a reserve linebacker for Bill Belichick in New England last year, in addition to being a special teams standout. Fletcher could assume Hayward and Watson's role as a special teams ace while also providing linebacker depth that is sorely missing at this point.

K Lawrence Tynes
Tynes and the Buccaneers had a very public nasty divorce last fall when Tynes contracted MRSA during training camp and was not placed on injured reserve but instead the non-football injury list. That designation caused Tynes wife Amanda to take to Twitter in an attempt to shame the organization.

– Scott Reynolds contributed to this story
Last modified on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 19:04

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  • avatar

    So far I like what's happening in free agency. I would like to see Tillman and maybe Hester signed. OT Collins and C Smith would improve our O-line right from the start. But we still need depth on the O-line. Who knows a few more positional signings and it would free us up on draft day to pick up some good future players.
  • avatar

    Hey KINDEERT, S. Hill should even be closer to that 3mil per year than McCown.
  • avatar

    This is an awesome FA period for the new Bucs !! Does anyone think that all these guys want to play here to be in those fantastic new comfortable uni's !! HAHA. OK, kidding aside, I am hoping for S. Hill at QB instead of McCown. I do not feel that their talent is too far apart and Hill should definitely come cheaper. That gives us a little more wiggle room for more free agents and the draft. All I really want now is some o-line help and maybe a WR before the draft. Would love the C we are looking at from GB, and Collins to sign. That would really help our o-line. As far as the WR position goes, I would like to see E. Sanders come to Tampa, as long as he is not too expensive. He has a lot of speed, and good, if not great hands. He seems to work very well in space and was used in screens and short area passes as well as the long ball. A tremendous upgrade over Underwood!!
  • avatar

    No way we get McCown for 3 mil, more like 7-8 mil. Could we still use Melton ? I thought he would be a great pick up to go with McCoy. We need to fix the OL and one or two more pieces then we can go BPA in the draft.
  • avatar

    Pink, don't be so hard on Page. He was a rook on a bad team. For the most part he fielded the ball cleanly on punts. He did much better then Demps who didn't understand you don't take the ball out of the back of the endzone on kick off returns. The Bucs never utilized his skills in the slot where I think he might have a shot. Let's see what Tedford can do with him before we pass judgement. We should give most our players a clean slate with better coaching. As far as Revis goes you just don't pay any corner 16 mill, that's Q.B. money for a player who rarely touches the ball. I don't understand fans who want to hold on to players who are over paid, and don't fit the new scheme.
  • avatar

    I'm sorry NO! Unless someone trades us a first round pick for Revis the absolute most foolish thing would be to cut him. He's a probowl contributed every game and is a good team mate. There are many other ways to create cap room like nicks who has barely played, Barth, keanon, penn even! Don't give me this crap about creating cap room as a valid reason for cutting him! Teaming him up with alteron verner and banks is going to be insane! Dom did the stupid contract but don't fight stupid with stupid, keep revis
  • avatar

    v makes up for the revis fiasco. domidork was brutal good luck Miami hickey just as dumb f domidork
  • avatar

    How is the money holding out? We are moving along so fast I lost count. I hope Dominik is watching and taking notes in case another team would be dumb enough to bring him in as a GM. Licht and Lovie where have you been, we needed you guys year's ago.
  • avatar

    Bucs cap space should be as little as 6 mil and as much as 12 mil remaining based on guaranteed contracts with escalators or without. When they cut Revis and Penn, that will add 16 mil for Revis and about 6 mil for Penn. So then they're at 28 to 34 mil under the cap. Then when they sign Collins for 6 mil per, Tillman for 6 mil per, and McCown for 3 mil, they will still be 15-20 mil below the cap.
  • avatar

    Not so bitter about losing Revis now that they signed Verner. Verner is going to be a great CB and had a great season last year. I love all of these signings so far...pretty happy they didn't sign Albert or Saffold because they are overrated and now over paid. I am bummed about not signing Dexter McCluster though, I thought he would have been a real nice addition to the offense.
  • avatar

    I like all these moves and visits, except that sorry @$$ Page and I'd rather have Luke McCown than Josh McCown. Luke is younger, more athletic and is obviously familiar with the Bucs.
  • avatar

    just signed corner from Titans............. 4 or 5 yrs 26 mil....... lil more than last years CB crop......... get Tillman for 3 mil and you are way better off than with Revis and you still got 6 to 8 mil left over
  • avatar

    Was going to say we still need another CB but just heard we signed Verner(sp) This looks like a great FA period for the Buc's. No matter what IMO it was a needed move to get rid of Revis. This team was in poor shape thanks to the previous regime. Next year we will not have so many holes and have a good base to work with. IMO it looks like they would like to get Watkins at 7 in the draft. Now if we can lock up McCown we will be well on our way to being respectable again. Licht and Lovie are doing real well. GO BUC'S.
  • avatar

    Forgot a category... TRADE THAT BLEW UP IN OUR FACE: Mevis!
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