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Bucs appear to be doing right by Penn

Tampa Bay left tackle Donald Penn, who has been seeking a long-term contract, may be getting his wish.

Penn, who refused to sign his tender as a restricted free agent and had stayed away from the team, reportedly is on his way to Tampa and could have a deal signed before the Buccaneers begin their first camp practice Saturday.

I’ve long thought Penn and his agent were taking a pretty big gamble on this one. Let’s face it, Penn is decent, but far from great. But as I thought about it, it makes sense to fork over money for Penn. That’s mainly because the Bucs were staring down the barrel at the possibility of having Demar Dotson protecting the backside of quarterback Josh Freeman. Remember, Freeman is the franchise in Tampa Bay and putting him out there without a legitimate tackle – even in practice – would have been dangerous.

Assuming Penn gets his long-term deal, this opens a can of worms for the Bucs when it comes to linebacker Barrett Ruud. He also has been seeking a long-term deal and has played nice about it -- signing his tender and working out with the team. If the Bucs really are going to do the right thing, they need to give Ruud a contract before too long.

Speaking of contracts and the Bucs, rookie Gerald McCoy remains unsigned. The clock is ticking. But, if the Bucs were able to pull off something with Penn at this point, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of McCoy reaching an agreement tonight or in the wee hours of Saturday morning.