Anthony Collins' tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a brief one. On Tuesday, the Buccaneers released the eighth-year veteran on the same day that the NFL's free agency period began.
Collins originally signed with Tampa Bay almost exactly a year ago, one day into the 2014 free agency period. He started the season at left tackle but missed time due to injury in November and was eventually supplanted in the lineup by Demar Dotson, who moved over from right tackle.
The Buccaneers also did a little roster work earlier in the afternoon to prepare for the 4:00 p.m. kickoff to free agency. Those moves included:
- Re-signed S Major Wright, a pending unrestricted free agent, to a two-year deal
- Extended a qualifying offer to RB Bobby Rainey to ensure his status as a restricted free agent
- Re-signed CB Leonard Johnson, who was due to become a restricted free agent at 4:00 p.m., to a one-year contract
With Wright back in the fold, the Buccaneers have just five players from their 2014 roster, other than Collins, who became unrestricted free agents on Tuesday: DE Da'Quan Bowers, DE Adrian Clayborn, OL Oniel Cousins, LB Dane Fletcher and LB Mason Foster. The team has either re-signed or tendered all of its potential restricted and exclusive rights free agents except for fullback Jorvorskie Lane, who thus becomes, essentially, an unrestricted free agent.
Wright and Johnson both played extensively in the Buccaneers' secondary last year. Wright signed as an unrestricted free agent last offseason and ended up as a starter by the fourth game of the season before an injury to his ribs cost him the final month of 2014. Johnson played primarily in nickel and dime packages but did make three starts down the stretch. Rainey finished second on the team with 406 rushing yards and also ended the season as the team's primary kick returner.
Johnson (5-10, 202) originally joined the Bucs as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2012, and he has seen significant action on defense in each of his three seasons with the team. In 48 games and 17 starts, he has recorded 139 tackles, 20 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and five interceptions, returning those picks for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He also contributes on special teams and has notched nine kick-coverage tackles.
In all, the 5-11, 204-pound Wright played in 12 games last season, making seven starts and recording 51 tackles, two for loss, and one pass defensed. He began his career with the Chicago Bears as a third-round pick in 2010 and spent four seasons in Chicago – three under current Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith, before heading to Tampa. In his five-year career, Wright has started 49 of the 66 games in which he has played and contributed 298 tackles, 19 passes defensed, nine interceptions (returned for 151 yards and three touchdowns), three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Rainey first came to the Buccaneers as a waiver claim in October of 2013. In 24 games since, the 5-8, 205-pound tailback has ran 231 times for 938 yards and six touchdowns while catching 44 passes for 342 yards and two more scores. As the team's return man down the stretch in 2014, he 26.3 yards on six kickoff returns and 7.9 yards on seven punt runbacks. Rainey began his career as an undrafted free agent in Baltimore in 2012 but saw his first action for Cleveland in 2013, rushing 13 times for 34 yards and catching four passes for 19 yards before his waiver.
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