Anthony Collins signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Collins isn't returning to the Bengals.

The Cincinnati Bengals have now lost two starting offensive lineman with NFL free agency opening this week. After cutting center Kyle Cook, the Bengals have now lost starting left tackle Anthony Collins.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Collins an offer he couldn't refuse and the Bengals didn't want to match:

It was believed the Bengals were offering a similar deal to Tampa, but it looks like that wasn't enough to keep AC in Cincinnati.

With Collins now gone, the Bengals will likely stick with Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, though it would have been nice to keep him at left guard. Once he moved there late last year, the Bengals running game was more productive down the stretch.

Whit could theoretically still remain at guard, but the Bengals will need to sign or draft someone to play LT to protect Andy Dalton's blindside.

According to Pro Football Focus, in 389 passing plays in 2013, Collins allowed only one QB hit and no sacks and just 14 QB pressures. It's going to be really hard to replace that with Whit moving back to tackle.

In the end, the Bengals have made it clear they won't overpay to re-sign anyone, and Collins was no different. If they truly had valued him, they would have placed the franchise tag on him and made him prove he could be a franchise left tackle.

Now that Collins is gone, the Bengals may look to draft a left tackle to eventually replace Whitworth, or even start there in 2014 and keep Whit at guard.

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