The Tampa Bay Buccaneers parted ways with one of their most experienced players on Thursday when they announced the release of left tackle Donald Penn.
The move comes on the heels of the announcement that the team had signed left tackle Anthony Collins from the Bengals, who will replace Penn at left tackle.
The Buccaneers also reportedly attempted to trade Penn before releasing him.
Penn was undrafted out of Utah State, and actually spent time on the Minnesota roster before landing in Tampa Bay in the 2006 offseason. He would take to the field for the first time in 2007, starting 12 games, and would then start all 16 games in every season from 2008-2013.
Penn earned a big contract for his consistent play and reliability, but in what would be his final season in Tampa, his skills appeared to be on the decline. He allowed more and more pressure to get to his quarterback, and seemed a step slow when facing elite pass rushers.
Still, Penn was a serviceable tackle making an average salary, but he was surplus to requirements after the Buccaneers added the cheaper, younger, better Collins. The Buccaneers will save over $7 million dollars in cap space by releasing Penn, while creating only a very slim amount of dead money against the cap.
Penn’s departure means that Jeremy Zuttah is now the longest-tenured Buccaneer currently under contract, as he prepares to enter his seventh year in the NFL.