Anthony Collins

Community Tailgate: Best FA Besides Evan Mathis?

We’re still a few months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This month, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

Today, we’re asking PFR readers to weigh in on the top remaining free agents. Excluding talented players with legal troubles like linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive end Ray McDonald, former Eagles guard Evan Mathis is universally regarded as the best player without a deal at this time. Beyond Mathis, however, there’s hardly a clear cut silver medalist.

Over the weekend, PFR’s Dallas Robinson put together his list of the best available remaining free agents. After Mathis, he ranked tackle Jake Long No. 2, citing the former No. 1 overall pick’s talent level while also acknowledging his frustrating injury history. Tight end Jermaine Gresham, who underwent back surgery in March to repair a herniated disc, comes in at No. 3 thanks to his pass-catching ability and history of solid blocking. One-time fantasy darling James Jones is ranked fourth even though he has yet to put up the kind of numbers that he did with the Packers in 2012. Defensive end Dwight Freeney, 35, has remained productive despite his age and lack of sack totals, and was ranked No. 5. Safety Dawan Landry, guard Rob Sims, defensive lineman Red Bryant, center Chris Myers, and offensive lineman Anthony Collins rounded out the top ten. Honorable mention went to notables such as defensive end Osi Umenyiora, running back Pierre Thomas, safety Bernard Pollard, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and quarterback Michael Vick.

Long could definitely pay dividends for a team willing to roll the dice on a low-cost deal and one could hardly be slammed for considering him the most intriguing free agent after Mathis. After all, in 2013, Long graded out as the seventh-best tackle in the league with a strong 22.5 overall score, based on Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). However, he has torn his ACL in each of the past two seasons and in 2014, Pro Football Focus ranked him as just the No. 36 tackle out of 84 qualified players. Do you consider someone like Gresham, who was a focal point of the Bengals’ offense for multiple seasons, to be a better buy? Does that mantle belong to Freeney, who graded out as one of the best at his position in terms of pass-rush productivity? Or, would you cast your vote for someone else?

In the comment section below, let us know who you think is the second-best free agent on the board and why. 

Bucs Cut Anthony Collins

The latest example of March buyer’s remorse comes out of Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers released left tackle Anthony Collins, Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud tweets.

This comes less than a year after the Bucs signed Collins to a five-year deal worth $30MM.

Like about everything for the Bucs last year, Collins’ season there did not go well. A former fourth-round pick in 2008 and part-time starter with the Bengals, Collins missed time with injuries last year but rated as a low-end blocker when on the field, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Collins was the sixth-highest-paid player on the Bucs’ payroll and second-highest-paid offensive lineman behind only Logan Mankins. Collins’ release will cost the team $3MM in dead money while saving $3MM, according to OverTheCap.


Bucs To Trade Or Cut Anthony Collins

A year after signing offensive lineman Anthony Collins to a five-year, $30MM contract, the Buccaneers are shopping him in search of a taker, reports Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). If the Bucs can’t work out a deal, they’ll likely cut Collins, says Rapoport. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported last week that the club would likely part ways with some of its 2014 signees, including Collins (Twitter link).

Collins’ contract with the Bucs didn’t include any sort of bonuses, and simply includes a $6MM base salary in each of the next four seasons. While that makes it easier for the Bucs to make a move, given the lack of dead money on the deal, there probably isn’t a team out there at the moment willing to pay $6MM annually for a player who was a healthy scratch for the final few weeks of the 2014 season.

Having spent his first six NFL seasons in Cincinnati, Collins never had an extended run as a full-time player before 2014, starting no more than seven games in any season for the Bengals. He was excellent in his 673 offensive snaps in 2013, never recording a negative grade in a game, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). However, he was unable to translate that solid part-time production into an above-average – or even passable – performance as Tampa Bay’s left tackle in 2014.

Per Over the Cap, $3MM of Collins’ $6MM salary for 2015 is currently guaranteed, with the other half set to become guaranteed next Friday. So if the Bucs do plan to cut the 29-year-old, it will almost certainly happen within the next 10 days or so.

Sunday Roundup: Brees, Bucs, Revis

Ian Rapoport of tweets that he expects the Saints to draft a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2015 draft as they begin to prepare for life after Drew Brees. On top of Brees’ struggles this season, Rapoport adds (via Twitter) that the Saints have watched the 35-year-old’s arm strength wane and therefore must be “prepared for the end.” Former agent Joel Corry, perhaps wondering if New Orleans would go so far as to release Brees after this season, tweets that the All-Pro carries a $26.4MM cap number for 2015 and the Saints have a league-high $161MM in 2015 cap commitments.

However, Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that releasing Brees after 2014 would create $15MM of dead money, a figure that becomes much more palatable if he were to be released following the 2015 season. As such, Rapoport believes it would be better for the Saints to simply draft Brees’ heir apparent and allow him to learn from Brees for at least one season.

Others, though, are more skeptical of Brees’ demise and of the Saints’ ability to draft a suitable replacement in short order. In a pair of tweets, Mike Triplett of writes that the Saints may well draft a quarterback this season, but the team does not feel as though Brees is in a steep decline, that a rookie would have to wait at least two years to be ready to lead the New Orleans offense, and that Brees has never relied on a big arm to be successful, so reports of diminished arm strength are not especially relevant. Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, meanwhile, tweets that the Saints will be hard-pressed to find their future quarterback in this year’s draft.

Now for a few more links from around the league:

  • Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune says it is not too soon to accept that the Buccaneers made a mistake with their offseason signings of Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson, whose futures in Tampa Bay are now very much in doubt. Although the Bucs have a little more flexibility with Collins than with Johnson, who would be owed a $4MM roster bonus on March 1 in addition to a $5MM base salary in 2015 (of which $3MM is guaranteed), Tampa Bay could realistically cut both players outright. Regardless of what the Bucs do, they will likely seek upgrades at offensive tackle and defensive end via the draft rather than dive once more into the free agency pool.
  • Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald believes the Patriots should retain star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has been a central figure of the team’s successful 2014 campaign, at all costs.
  • Tony Boselli, the former Jaguars great who was drafted by current Giants head coach Tom Coughlin when Coughlin was with Jacksonville, says that the Jaguars’ firing of Coughlin was a “huge mistake,” writes Conor Orr of Boselli believes the Giants would be similarly misguided if they were to fire Coughlin without allowing him to coach through the end of his contract, which expires after the 2015 season.
  • Ian Rapoport of tweets that Washington has not spoken with Robert Griffin III regarding his fifth-year option. Although a decision does not have to be made on that option until May, it does not appear as though the team will exercise it at this point.
  • Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports tweets that 49ers DB Perrish Cox, who is in a contract year, has signed with agent David Mulugheta.
  • Though we heard earlier today from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Jets and Raiders were interested in pursuing 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh via trade after the season, Schefter does note that some in the organization believe the team could still work out an extension with Harbaugh.
  • Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Rams have improved under Jeff Fisher and appear to be on the cusp of being a competitive club, but the histories of Fisher and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer suggest that St. Louis, which has primarily utilized a conservative ball control offense, will not take the next step unless it somehow lands an elite quarterback.

Buccaneers Notes: McCoy, Smith, Barron

The Buccaneers signed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a big money extension earlier this week, with initial numbers reported to be $98MM over seven years, with $51MM guaranteed. While more information trickled out about the details of the contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has more information on the specifics, which he released in a series of tweets. He reports that $20.3MM of that total will be earned in 2014, and the rest of the money is paid out on a pay-as-you-go system. It only becomes guaranteed in the event of injury.

La Canfora gives out how much money will be owed going forward. “McCoy will make $11.5M in 2015 ($5m base/$6.5 roster bons). $12.5M in 2016 ($6M/$6.5M). $13.75M in 2017 (all base salaries), $12.75M 2018, $13M in 2019.” He also notes that McCoy will have base salaries of $10MM in 2020 and 2021, with an additional $2.5MM in roster bonuses.

Overall, after the contract guarantees kick in on the third day of the 2015 league year, the contract becomes a three year, $44.3MM deal at its minimum.

Here are some other notes from around the Buccaneers:

  • Head coach Lovie Smith does not believe the team is bereft of talent after deadline deals saw a few key players move to new teams, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times“The move we made gave us the best chance to win right now. … Yeah, we picked up draft picks on both of those players — moved up on one and picked up (picks) on the other,” said Smith. “But no, it’s not about the future. Yeah, it’s always about the future, but it’s about our current roster. As I said, you don’t trade players unless you feel pretty good about the other players you have.” Smith also noted that moving on from former first-round pick Mark Barron will give Major Wright and Bradley McDougald a chance to shine. Smith said Wright has been playing as well as any safety on the roster, and praised McDougald’s future as a star on the defense. He also mentioned his desire not to have any player who was one-dimensional, saying he wanted his safeties to be able to play both the pass and the run.
  • Speaking of Barron, the Rams should be very happy with the player they acquired, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He considers the trade the first move of the 2015 offseason, and believes that the Rams will correctly use him as an in-the-box safety to strengthen the run defense. He writes that in 2012 Barron was the ninth ranked safety against the run in the box by Pro Football Focus.
  • With the exit of Barron, the Buccaneers are left with only three first round picks on the roster, the others being McCoy, this year’s pick Mike Evans, and Adrian Clayborn (who is on the IR), according to Pat Yasinskas of (However, Doug Martin was also drafted in the first round, with the team trading back into the first round to grab him in 2012.) Guard Logan Mankins, defensive end Larry English, and cornerback Mike Jenkins are also first-rounders, although they were acquired via trade and free agency. Altogether, the first rounders have played 1,699 snaps, third worst in the NFL after the Jaguars and Raiders. Those three teams are a combined 2-20 this season.
  • The Buccaneers also made a big splash in free agency this offseason, but those investments have not paid dividends, writes Yasinskas. Anthony Collins, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Josh McCown, and Michael Johnson have all disappointed, while Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald have merely been solid.

NFC Rumors: Peppers, Cowboys, Penn, Clark

When DeMarcus Ware was released from the Cowboys due to his high salary, nine seasons and 117 sacks walked out the door, with the seven-time Pro Bowler eventually landing with the Broncos. Add in the Cowboys losing Jason Hatcher, who totaled 11 sacks last season, and the void at pass-rusher in Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defense was unmistakeable.

So, it makes sense that the Cowboys have reached out to another former All-Pro, Julius Peppers, who was released by the Bears on Tuesday. CBSSports’ Jason La Canfora hears that the Cowboys‘ interest in Peppers is “quite real,” pointing out the obvious connection (via Twitter) between Peppers and Marinelli, who teamed in Chicago from 2010-’12.

ESPN reporter Josina Anderson confirmed La Canfora’s report (via Twitter), calling the interest significant but not going so far as to guarantee the deal.

Other free agent rumors from around the NFC…


Florida Notes: Bucs, Thurmond, Dolphins

Let’s round up a few Friday afternoon items on Florida’s NFL teams….

  • The Buccaneers aren’t in play for cornerback Walter Thurmond, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). We heard earlier today that Thurmond’s visit with the Redskins had been canceled as well, so it sounds as if he may be close to making a decision. He has reportedly visited the Jaguars, as well as the 49ers.
  • The new deals with the Buccaneers for quarterback Josh McCown and offensive tackle Anthony Collins include plenty of incentives, as Pat Yasinskas of details.
  • Free agent right tackle Zach Strief declined an offer to visit the Dolphins, with no explanation given, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
  • Within the same piece, Jackson says the Dolphins hope to get a deal done with offensive lineman Shelley Smith today, and that owner Stephen Ross never met with Jonathan Martin before the team sent him to the Niners, despite repeatedly saying he would.

NFC Contract Details: Quarless, Collins, Saffold

We rounded up a handful of AFC contract details earlier this afternoon. Now, let’s turn our attention to the NFC:

  • Andrew Quarless‘ two-year contract with the Packers is worth $3MM in total, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. The base salaries are $800K and $1.3MM, while the remaining money is made up of a $350K signing bonus, $200K in per-game roster bonuses, and $75K in annual workout bonuses.
  • Pelissero tweets that only $9MM of Anthony Collins‘ five-year deal with the Bucs is fully guaranteed at signing, which is $6MM less than what was reported earlier. I’m guessing that $6MM is guaranteed for injury only.
  • Although Rodger Saffold‘s new five-year contract with the Rams is worth $31.7MM, it can max out at $35MM+, per Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter).
  • Willie Young‘s three-year contract with the Bears includes a $1MM roster bonus and $150K in workout bonuses, tweets Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Meanwhile, the Bearssigning of Ryan Mundy has the club on the hook for a two-year, $3MM contract, with $650K guaranteed, says Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (all Twitter links). That $650K guarantee comes in the form of a roster bonus, while the pact includes base salaries of $800K (2014) and $1.45MM (2015), plus workout bonuses of $50K annually.
  • Eric Wright‘s one-year contract with the 49ers sounds like a minimum salary benefit deal, according to Matt Maiocco of (Twitter link). For a player with Wright’s experience, that’s an $855K base salary to go along with a $20K reporting bonus and another $25K if he makes the team.
  • Joe Berger‘s one-year deal with the Vikings is worth $920K, with a $65K signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). That makes it a minimum salary benefit contract too.
  • Anthony McCoy will have a base salary of $950K on his one-year contract with the Seahawks, tweets KJR’s Curtis Crabtree.

Bucs, Anthony Collins Agree To Five-Year Deal

9:50am: Collins’ five-year contract with the Bucs is worth $6MM annually, for a total of $30MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of $15MM of that total is guaranteed, says Adam Schefter of (via Twitter).

9:39am: The Buccaneers have agreed to sign Anthony Collins, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that it’s a five-year contract. We heard yesterday that Tampa Bay was pushing hard to land the left tackle, while another report suggested that Collins had narrowed his choices down to the Bucs, Bengals, and Panthers.

Having spent his first six NFL seasons in Cincinnati, Collins has never had an extended run as a full-time player, starting no more than seven games in any season for the Bengals. However, he was excellent in his 673 offensive snaps last season, never recording a negative grade in a game, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). If he can maintain that type of performance in full-time action, he could be one of the steals in this year’s tackle market.

It has been an incredibly busy couple days for the Buccaneers, who have also signed defensive end Michael Johnson, cornerback Alterraun Verner, and former Bears quarterback Josh McCown, among others. With Collins expected to play left tackle for the team, expect the Bucs to try to move Donald Penn, according to Stroud (via Twitter).

Bucs, Panthers, Bengals In Mix For Collins

Free agent offensive tackle Anthony Collins is choosing between the Buccaneers, Panthers, and returning to the Bengals, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. According to Auman, all three teams’ offers for Collins include comparable money.

Collins, 28, has been linked to the Buccaneers since before the free agent period officially began, and was viewed by some observers as a near-lock to sign with Tampa Bay. However, the Bengals remain in the hunt to keep their own player, and the Panthers, in search of a replacement for the retiring Jordan Gross, are a surprise contender for Collins’ services.

Having spent his first six NFL seasons in Cincinnati, Collins has never had an extended run as a full-time player, starting no more than seven games in any season for the Bengals. However, he was excellent in his 673 offensive snaps last season, never recording a negative grade in a game, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). If he can maintain that type of performance in full-time action, he could be one of the steals in this year’s tackle market.