TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to terms on a five-year contract with first-round draft pick Gerald McCoy and also reached a six-year deal with restricted free agent left tackle Donald Penn on the opening day of training camp.
General manager Mark Dominik announced the developments Saturday during the club's first practice. Penn joined the workout about 15 minutes later, and there was a chance McCoy would join the team at One Buc Place by the end of the day.
"We're finishing up some language and paperwork," Dominik said of McCoy, the third overall pick in this year's draft out of Oklahoma. The Bucs are counting on the 6-foot-4, 295-pound tackle to fill a hole on the defensive line that's existed since Warren Sapp departed Tampa Bay after the 2003 season.
"It's a great day for the Bucs," the general manager added, "in terms of securing two players to long-term deals that can be really important to this organization."
Penn is a sixth-year pro who's appeared in 48 career games, including 44 straight as the Bucs' starting left tackle. He declined a $3.168 million tender offer and stayed away from the team's voluntary offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp while seeking a long-term contract that's worth about $43 million.
To make room on the roster, tackle James Williams was released.
Penn, who's played under one-year contracts the past three seasons, said he made a call to his agent a few days ago and pushed for a resolution to his dispute.
"I said: Let's get it done. Let's make some sacrifices if we need to. ... It wasn't about financial security. I wanted longevity, a commitment," Penn said. "That's what I got."
Second-year coach Raheem Morris was relieved to be able to open camp with his left tackle in place. He and Penn remained in contact throughout the offseason, often through text messages.
"I understand the business of this game. ... That's just what it was," the coach said. "It was a business deal."
Morris, who serves as his own defensive coordinator, said he was never concerned that McCoy might become involved in a lengthy holdout that could become a distraction or even undermine the player's rookie season.
"He understands how important he is. He understands his role, especially when you're talking about the third pick of the draft," Morris said.
"You're not talking about a guy who feels like he got hosed. You're not talking about a guy that feels like he doesn't belong or is not wanted. You're talking about a cornerstone to our defense. There's no secret behind it. I knew it was just a matter of time" before a deal was done.