Donald Penn’s days as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer may be drawing to a close, as the team has reportedly spent the free agent “tampering” period to reach out to multiple replacements for their returning left tackle.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Buccaneers are “expected to sign” former Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins to a deal worth between 6.5 and 7 million dollars. This would represent a cheaper price than what the Buccaneers currently pay Penn, and it would represent a younger player who had a solid season in 2013.
According to Pro Football Focus, Collins was in for 389 passing plays, and allowed only one QB hit and no sacks, while allowing only 14 total pressures. Compare this to Penn, who played on 613 passing plays, and allowed 11 sacks, six QB hits, and 45 total pressures.
Collins has never been a full-time starter in the NFL, seeing work only as a fill-in during his career (spent entirely in Cincinnati). But he came on strong at the end of last season, and therefore will be paid as a player with upside and potential, rather than a “proven commodity.
Collins may still return to the Bengals, according to the report.
According to the same report, the Buccaneers are also in talks with Rodger Saffold, most recently with the St. Louis Rams. Saffold played at right tackle, right guard, and left tackle last season, and posted decent numbers according to PFF. Saffold will come at a higher price, commanding $8 million according to the Sun.
However, Saffold is more closely linked to the Raiders at this time, and the 25-year old may not be available for the Buccaneers, who can’t compete with Oakland’s cap space.