The housecleaning at One Buc Place continued today as the Bucs released tackle Donald Penn.
Penn, who started seven straight seasons at left tackle, was released just hours after the Bucs signed Bengals free agent tackle Anthony Collins to a 5-year, $30-million contract.Full Story
The Bucs' free-agent success continued Thursday morning with the signing of Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins, one of the top available linemen.
Collins, 28, has only 25 career starts in his six NFL seasons, but played remarkably well for Cincinnati in 2013 -- he allowed only 12 quarterback hurries in 317 pass-block situations according to Pro Football Focus, the best pass blocking efficiency of any NFL tackle. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound tackle was fourth-round pick out of Kansas in 2008.
Collins is likely to be the Bucs' new starting left tackle, which likely spells the end for Bucs veteran Donald Penn, who has started every game since during the 2007 season. Penn would have made $7.15 million this season and will now likely be traded or released.
Collins joins an impressive group of new additions for Tampa Bay, which already includes his Bengals teammate, defensive end Michael Johnson, as well as Bears quarterback Josh McCown, Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and Giants tight end Brandon Myers.Full Story
TAMPA -- Michael Johnson understands the Bucs won only four games last year and haven't won a playoff game in 11 seasons.
The free-agent defensive end, signed by Tampa Bay to a lucrative five-year, $43.75-million contract, has seen those struggles before, and now foresees the same kind of turnaround he enjoyed in five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Before I got to Cincinnati, they'd been to the playoffs one time in (18) years," Johnson said Wednesday as the Bucs introduced the first four members of an impressive and growing free-agent class. "When I got there, we went four out of my five years. Just like Tampa's coming off a 4-12 season, I had a 4-12 season in Cincinnati my second year. I know what it's like to go through that. I know what it's like to climb out of that."
The Bucs see Johnson as one of the pieces missing from 2013, an elite pass-rusher who was rated by some among the top five available free agents at any position. He had 11.5 sacks in 2012, but saw that number drop to 3.5 last season, though he said he played better football by attacking opposing offenses in other ways. …Full Story
TAMPA -- One year, two draft picks and $16 million later, Darrelle Revis is suddenly no longer a Bucs cornerback.
And just as quickly as the Pro Bowler was released Wednesday after the Bucs were unable to find a trade partner willing to take on his $16-million salary, Revis had a new home, landing with the New England Patriots only hours later with a one-year deal with $12 million, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
As much as the Bucs gave up to get Revis -- a 2013 first-round draft pick and a fourth-round pick in May's draft -- Tampa Bay carefully chose to let him go with nothing in return. Difficult as it is for some Bucs fans to accept, the team's new leadership made it clear with Revis' release that they preferred the flexibility of having $16 million to spend on multiple players who could help the team's many needs. …Full Story
TAMPA -- Bucs coach Lovie Smith made it clear Wednesday afternoon that veteran Josh McCown, who played for him in Chicago and has signed to a two-year, $10-million contract with the Bucs, is now his starting quarterback for 2014.
"I've known him for a while, got a chance to see him in every situation, as a leader, a guy coming back from adversity," Smith said. "When you have a little time to reflect on a lot of things, and say 'Hey, this next chance, I want to do it right in every way.' I wanted to have people that I really knew how they would react in every situation. Josh is just a heck of a guy. .. There has to be a starting spot, a starting point, a starting person to go out there first, and that would be Josh."
Smith has had praise for second-year quarterback Mike Glennon, who had 19 touchdown passes as a rookie last fall, but Smith said Wednesday that he'll go into the season with McCown as his starter. …Full Story
In what will be remembered as one of the worst trades in team history, the Bucs released Darrelle Revis Wednesday, less than a year after sending the 13th overall draft pick in 2013 and a fourth-round choice this year to the New York Jets for the Pro Bowl cornerback.
Despite interest from several teams such as the Raiders and Browns, the Bucs were unsuccessful in trying to trade Revis over the past few days, primarily because he refused to restructure his $16-million per year contract.
Had Revis been on the roster by 4 p.m. today, the Bucs would've owed him a $1.5-million bonus and been forced to part with a third round pick in the 2014 draft instead of a fourth-round choice to complete the trade with the Jets.
Tampa Bay has only five selections in the draft this year.
With so many needs on a team that finished 4-12 last season, the Bucs felt they could make better use of the $16-million in salary cap space held by Revis.
The Bucs already have agreed to deals with six unrestricted free agents since the signing period began at 4 p.m. Tuesday, including Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner. Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is visiting the team today. …Full Story
Two years ago, Josh McCown was coaching high school football when Lovie Smith talked him into resuming his NFL career with the Chicago Bears.
Smith was persuasive again, signing McCown to a two-year deal with the Bucs Wednesday. No terms were released, but it is believed to be worth $10-million contract with a chance to earn as much as $15-million based on incentives.
McCown had planned to visit the Houston Texans and New York Jets but cancelled those trips, one day after arriving in Tampa.
The 34-year-old veteran is coming off his best year as a pro, going 3-2 with the Bears with 13 touchdowns and one interception as the backup to Jay Cutler.
In Tampa Bay, McCown will at least be able to compete for the starting job against second-year pro Mike Glennon, an opportunity he didn't have in Chicago.
The Bucs moved their scheduled 3 p.m. press conference to 4:30, presumably so McCown and perhaps another potential free agent could be included in the gathering.
The Bucs have found the veteran quarterback they wanted to compete for the team's starting job, signing Josh McCown to a two-year contract, his agent announced Wednesday.
McCown, 34, who played for Bucs coach Lovie Smith as a backup in Chicago in 2011-12, had surprising success this past season, throwing for 13 touchdowns against just one interception while filling in for injured starter Jay Cutler. He'll compete with second-year quarterback Mike Glennon, who threw for a Bucs rookie record 19 touchdowns last season.
McCown's deal is for $10 million, according to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez, with incentives that can push it to $15 million total -- two $1-million bonuses based on playing time and a $3 million bonus if the Bucs make the playoffs.
The Bucs are expected to introduce McCown at a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. His signing adds to an impressive first 24 hours of free agency, as the Bucs agreed to terms Tuesday with defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, tight end Brandon Myers and others.Full Story
No matter what happens to Darrelle Revis, the Bucs will still have a Pro Bowl cornerback next season.
The Bucs signed Titans cornerback Altteraun Verner to a four-year, $26.5-million contract with $14-million guaranteed. Verner, 25, had a career-high five interceptions last season and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl team. He tied for the league lead in passes defensed with 23 last year.
Verner's signing topped off a busy day for the Bucs, who agreed to terms or signed five free agents, including Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson. Johnson and Verner were the No. 3 and No. 8 free agents available, according to NFL.com.
Johnson and Verner will earn a combined $15.375-million next season, less than the $16-million scheduled to be paid to Revis.
The Bucs have been unable to trade Revis, who is owed a $1.5 million bonus Wednesday and is expected to be released by the team.
That would enable the Bucs to send the New Yorks Jets a fourth-round pick, rather than a third-rounder, to complete a trade that also included the No. 13 overall choice in 2013.
Free agent Josh McCown, one of the top QBs available on the free-agent market, will make his first visit to the Bucs, his agent Mike McCartney said Tuesday afternoon.
McCown, 34, who played for Bucs coach Lovie Smith with the Bears in 2011-12, is coming off a surprise season in which he threw for 13 touchdowns and just one interception while filling in for Chicago starter Jay Cutler. The Texans and Jets are also reportedly in line for visits this week, though the Bucs will do their best to convince him to sign and cancel his remaining trips.
McCown would provide competition for returning starter Mike Glennon, who threw for 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a rookie after the Bucs parted ways with Josh Freeman. The team could also use its first-round draft pick, No. 7 overall, on a quarterback as well. …Full Story
Seeking an upgrade at the tight end position, the Bucs wasted no time Tuesday in signing Brandon Myers, who has caught eight touchdown passes in the last two seasons, to a two-year contract.
Myers, 28, had 47 catches for 522 yards and four touchdowns with the Giants last season, and was even better in 2012, catching a career-best 79 passes for 806 yards and four scores with Oakland. The former Iowa player is 6-foot-3 and 256 pounds and will be paired with second-year pro Tim Wright as the Bucs' top tight ends.
The Bucs also signed Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and agreed to terms with Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson on a five-year, $43.75 million contract as well.
-- The Bucs also on Tuesday re-signed cornerback Danny Gorrer, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract, his agent Andrew Kessler said. Gorrer had 10 tackles last season in seven games. He had 11 with Tampa Bay in 2012.
-- Linebacker Dekoda Watson, an unrestricted free agent who met with Bucs officials on Monday, will visit with Jacksonville tonight. He's also been mentioned as a possibility for Miami, where former Bucs executive Dennis Hickey is the new general manager.
The Bucs' first splash in free agency comes from the Super Bowl champs, as Tampa Bay has signed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who had 5.5 sacks last season for the Seattle Seahawks, his agents announced Tuesday afternoon.
McDonald, 27, is 6-foot-2 and 297 pounds, having played collegiately at Memphis and the last four seasons as a top backup in Seattle. He'll compete with second-year defensive tackle Akeem Spence for playing time alongside Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy in Tampa this fall.
McDonald had a career-best 35 tackles in 2013, with one interception. Terms of the deal weren't immediately released.Full Story
The Bucs have opened free agency with a big splash, landing the outside pass-rusher they covet by agreeing to terms with Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson on a five-year contract.
The deal can be signed and made official until 4 p.m. today, when free agency officially begins with the new league year, but ESPN, which first reported the agreement, said it will be for $43.75 million, including $24 million guaranteed.
Johnson, 27, is 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, and had 11.5 sacks for the Bengals in 2012 and was given the team's franchise tag -- his numbers dropped to 3.5 last year, but he was ranked by experts among the most coveted free agents at any position.Full Story
Darrelle Revis is expected to be released by the Bucs after their efforts to trade him remained unsuccessful on Monday.
Even though new Bucs coach Lovie Smith was intrigued by having Revis in his defense, his $16-million contract and terms of the trade make that unappealing to a team coming off a 4-12 record with many needs.
If Revis, who turns 29 in July, is still on the roster by 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Bucs owe him a $1.5-million bonus and would have to send a third-round pick in the 2014 draft to the Jets to complete the trade.
Tampa Bay also traded the 13th overall pick in the 2013 draft for the Pro Bowl cornerback, who was recovering from a torn left ACL at the time of the deal.
The Bucs, who have been unable to restructure Revis’ contract, would gain an immediate $16-million on the salary cap to use on free agents while having to only send the Jets a fourth-round pick.
Revis currently earns nearly $6-million more per season than the next highest-paid cornerback in the league.
When the trade was made last April – by then Bucs general manager Mark Dominik – Revis was recovering from surgery that forced him to miss nearly all of the 2012 season with the Jets. …Full Story
The Bucs have made a progressive move in adding a new position to their front office, hiring a "director of analytics" to bring creative statistical analysis to the new staff around general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith.
Tyler Oberly comes to the Bucs from Houston, where he wrote for a site called TheSidelineView.com, applying an electric engineering background to football applications. He was a speaker last month at the MIT Sloan Sports Conference, a major gathering of sports analytics experts -- other speakers included baseball's Bill James, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and many others. Baseball and basketball have made considerable investments into adding number-crunchers in the post-"Moneyball" era, and football is starting to do the same.
Here's some of Oberly's work for TSV, and here's an abstract called "Elitics: Using Analytics to Reach NFL Ascendancy," which shows the link between six specific statistical metrics and winning in the NFL. Will it help Smith and Licht win in Tampa? That remains to be seen.Full Story