Source: Bucs stay busy, land tackle Collins

Updated: March 13, 2014, 2:02 PM ET news services

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement with former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins on a five-year deal worth $30 million, including $15 million guaranteed, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Tampa Bay also released longtime offensive tackle Donald Penn on Thursday. Penn played in 112 games for the Buccaneers, including 108 consecutive starts, the fourth-longest such streak in franchise history.
The Buccaneers, entering a new regime under coach Lovie Smith, have been among the most active teams in free agency, already also agreeing to deals with defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, quarterback Josh McCown and tight end Brandon Myers.
For five seasons, Collins was a reserve player and seemed destined for a career of coming off the bench. But at the start of his sixth year, when a slow recovering knee sidelined Pro Bowl veteran left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth for the season opener, Collins got his chance to prove he could handle a starter’s load.
Matched against veteran Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, he had a difficult draw and handled the challenge well. Peppers, who has a 10-sacks-per-season average, was held off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. It wasn’t the only time Dalton was kept clean with Collins in a game — the lineman didn’t allow a sack all season.
After filling in one other time for Whitworth, Collins ended up starting the last four games of the regular season and the Bengals’ lone playoff game due to another injury on the offensive line. He performed well again, likely earning himself a few extra million on his new contract.
The Bengals drafted Collins out of Kansas in 2008. Bengals reporter Coley Harvey contributed to this report.

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