Buccaneers cut Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are tacitly acknowledging the missteps of general manager Jason Licht's first attempt at free agency last offseason.

After jettisoning quarterback Josh McCown in February, the Buccaneers announced the releases of left tackle Anthony Collins and defensive end Michael Johnson on Wednesday.

All three veterans were billed as major building blocks to usher in the Lovie Smith era last season.

The Bucs shopped Collins around the league last week, NFL Media Insider Rapoport reported, but predictably found no takers after a disastrous first season in Tampa.

The contracts signed by McCown, Collins and Johnson were reported last March to total $83.75 million -- with $43.75 million in "guarantees."

Johnson has collected $16 million of the alleged $23 million in "guarantees." Cutting him before March 12 saves the Buccaneers the final $7 million "guaranteed" payment.

Although Johnson struggled with injuries in his first Tampa Bay season, the Bengals are interested in a reunion, per NFL Media columnist Michael Silver.

Minnesota is another potential landing spot, as Johnson is reportedly tight with coach Mike Zimmer from their time together in Cincinnati. Johnson was a top target of the Vikings early last March before Everson Griffen re-signed on a monster contract.

Having learned from his rookie mistakes, Licht is mostly sitting out free agency's initial feeding frenzy this week. With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bucs will concentrate on building with young talent.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down every trade and free-agent signing and discusses the impact of Darrelle Revis' return to the Jets. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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