- T Anthony Collins, formerly of the Bengals, agreed to a five-year deal with the Buccaneers on Thursday
- The addition of Collins fits with Lovie Smith's approach of building a team from the lines back
- Collins will join new teammate Josh McCown at an introductory press conference on Thursday
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive line got a much-needed boostjust an hour into free agency on Tuesday. Now the other side of the trenches has received some help, as well.
Some very big help.
Tampa Bay's aggressive run through the free agent market continued on Thursday with the addition of former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins, who agreed to terms on a five-year deal. The 6-5, 315-pound Collins is the sixth unrestricted free agent to find a new home in Tampa in the first 48 hours of the open market, following the previous additions of defensive end Michael Johnson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, tight end Brandon Myers, cornerback Alterraun Verner and quarterback Josh McCown.
Like McCown, who inked with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, Collins made the most of an extended opportunity to start last season, earning a potentially more prominent role with another team. The seventh-year veteran blocker spent much of the second half of the 2013 season as the Bengals' starting left tackle, solidifying a line that lost starting guard Kevin Zeitler to injury. With left tackle Andrew Whitworth sliding inside to play guard, Collins took over on the edge and performed very well. Over the last five games of the regular season, with Collins at left tackle, quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked just three times while leading the team to four victories.
Former Bengal T Anthony Collins adds a big presence to a Buccaneer O-Line that will have a different look in 2014
A fourth-round pick out of Kansas in 2008, Collins has been a valuable swing tackle throughout his six seasons in Cincinnati, making starts on both ends of the line. In all, he has appeared in 57 games with 25 starts. In three of those six seasons, he registered six or more starts on the Bengals' line. He is expected to immediately solidify a Buccaneer front that struggled in 2013, contributing to the team's decline in the league's offensive rankings from ninth in 2012 to 32nd.