Now both of the Bengals’ “elite” unrestricted free agents are gone, and both are headed to Tampa Bay.
Two days after defensive end Michael Johnson signed a mega-deal with the Buccaneers, left tackle Anthony Collins bolted for the Sunshine State. The team announced the deal this morning on its website.
Adam Schefter reports that the five year deal is worth $30 million with $15 million guaranteed.
Surprisingly, the Bengals were in the chase for the talented lineman up to the very end. According to ProFootballTalk.com, the team had a very competitive offer on the table, as did the Carolina Panthers.
It’s interesting to think that, if the money was comparable, Collins selected the 4-12 Bucs over the 11-5, AFC North champion Bengals. Perhaps his time in Cincinnati, which dates back to 2008, when he was a fourth-round selection, had come to a close after six seasons and 25 starts all across the offensive line.
In the end, Collins selected Tampa Bay, leaving the Bengals with a hole to fill on the left side of its offensive line. The smart money would be on Andrew Whitworth returning to left tackle and the team looking for a new guard either in free agency or the draft.
I’d still rather see Whitworth at guard — better an elite guard than an above average left tackle. Aditionally, having Whitworth on his left hip would be a great help to Mike Pollack or whoever takes over as the Bengals’ center in 2014.