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Could the “Tampa Bay Bengals” be a thing?

Michael Johnson signed a huge contract with Tampa Bay and Anthony Collins could be next.

Michael Johnson signed a huge contract with Tampa Bay and Anthony Collins could be next.

One of the more active and headline-grabbing teams in the first day of the NFL free agency period was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs brought top-tier free agent defensive end Michael Johnson to town with a five-year deal worth $43.75 million according to reports. That’s more than the Bengals invested in either Carlos Dunlap or Geno Atkins — the two defensive linemen the team signed before electing to let Johnson walk in free agency.

The 6-foot-7 end from Georgia Tech racked up 26.5 sacks and knocked down an impressive 25 passes in five years with the Bengals — three of those seasons as a starter. But he wasn’t the only former Bengal on Tampa Bay’s radar Tuesday.

Clinton McDonald, who spent a year with the Bengals before three in the Seahawks’ D-line rotation, also joined Tampa Bay on Friday with a four-year deal.

The biggest hit from Tampa could be still to come though as it appears they’re winning the war for a player the Bengals actually had hopes of keeping around — versatile offensive lineman Anthony Collins. Rick Stroud, who covers the Bucs for the Tampa Bay Times reports that Collins is scheduled to visit the team.

It’s been widely reported that the Redskins, who are coached by former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, are interested in Collins’ services but Tampa appears to have the inside track as the new league year turns three hours old.

The ‘Skins, however, are reportedly interested in Bengals restricted free agent receiver Andrew Hawkins, as well as former Titan Kenny Britt, who was No. 3 on our Top 10 free agent wishlist.

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