Poll: Should Cincinnati Welcome Back Anthony Collins?


Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Anthony Collins (73) against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, just a year after signing a five-year deal worth $30 million, former Bengals reserve swing tackle Anthony Collins is on his way out of Tampa Bay.  The Buccaneers have decided to attempt to trade the failed free agent experiment, and if they are unable to do so, they’ll cut him.

Anthony Collins’ failure after just one year in Tampa Bay is both unsurprising and surprising depending on how one looks at it.  On the one hand, free agent signings so often fail.  Because of this, it’s hardly surprising that Collins failed to live up to his contract.

On the other hand, prior to signing his deal in 2014, Anthony Collins was highly impressive with the Bengals when filling in for injured linemen.  Collins performed well at both right tackle when Andre Smith was injured, and at left tackle when Andrew Whitworth slid over to left guard after Clint Boling tore his ACL.

In 2013, Anthony Collins logged 579 snaps in relief of injured teammates.  During this time he did not allow a single sack regardless of which tackle position he manned.  It’s this kind of effort that led to his significant payday.

Things were different with the Buccaneers in 2014.  Last season, Collins played on 622 snaps and failed to adequately block for his new quarterback.  Opposing linemen regularly beat Collins during the 10 games he played in.  Collins was injured for the other six games, which also didn’t help his lone campaign in Tampa Bay.

When the Buccaneers finally decide to part ways with Anthony Collins, he’ll likely seek a job similar to the one he had in Cincinnati, as a reserve swing tackle.  This past season, the Bengals tried to replace Collins with another veteran swing tackle, Marshall Newhouse.  This experiment failed as Newhouse proved to be a more effective turnstile than lineman.  The Bengals won’t retain Newhouse for 2016.  This means they’ll have an opening at his swing tackle position.  With the need to fill this roster spot, should the Bengals consider bringing back their once stalwart reserve tackle?

NFL players are so often successful in schemes that match their abilities.  It’s why free agents signings so often fail to live up to what they once were.  Anthony Collins seems to be yet another example of a scheme specific player.  His ability to block effectively seems to have relied in part to the Bengals’ offensive scheme.  Collins also benefitted from the play of highly capable teammates while also having a solid rapport with these players after spending years with them.  The effectiveness of offensive lines so often depend on time spent together, and this may very well have been another reality that plagued Collins in 2014.

If Collins were to return to Cincinnati, there’s little doubt that he’d already have the necessary rapport with his fellow linemen, but one must consider the fact that the team has changed it’s offensive game plan since Collins last played in Cincinnati.

Collins played under former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden his last few years in Cincinnati.  But now Hue Jackson who employs an entirely different offense, which is both creative and run-heavy, leads the offense.  Anthony Collins was no doubt an effective pass blocker for the Bengals, but was also never mistaken for a dominant run blocker.  This begs the question of whether or not Collins would fit Hue Jackson’s game plan.

When Anthony Collins’ impending release is finally announced, Bengals fans will justifiably consider his return to Cincinnati in an effort to sure up the depth along the line.  Many fans wanted the Bengals to re-sign Collins in 2014 due to the depth he provided and the steadiness he brought to the line when injury struck.  But Collins commanded starter’s money and priced himself out of his possible re-signing.  Collins won’t demand that kind of money again, but his fit in Cincinnati may not be what it once was either.

Taking these considerations into account, let us know how you feel about a potential Bengals-Collins reunion in the poll below, and provide your comments in the box at the bottom of the page.

Next: How about the other lost Bengal in Tampa Bay?

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