After signing Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson, NY Giants tight end Brandon Myers and Seattle defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on the opening day of free agency, the Bucs kept the action going on the first day of the 2014 free agency season by signing Tennessee CB Alterraun Verner to a four-year, $26.5-million contract late Tuesday night.
Verner was signed to replace cornerback Darrelle Revis, who will be traded or released by 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday so that Tampa Bay will avoid paying him $3 million in roster bonus and workout money, in addition to keeping its 2014 third-round pick as part of last year’s trade with New York that allowed the Bucs to acquire Revis. The Pro Bowler is slated to make $16 million in base salary in 2014.
Aside from sending the team’s 2013 first-round pick to New York, the Bucs are obligated to send a conditional pick – either a third- or a fourth-rounder – to the Jets this year. If Revis is on the Bucs’ roster by the third day of the 2014 league year, which is Thursday, the pick is a third-rounder. If Revis is gone by Thursday, it’s a fourth-rounder.
Verner, a former fourth-round pick out of UCLA by Tennessee, is a perfect fit for Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense and also has some man coverage ability. He’s coming off a career-high five interceptions in 2013 and has 11 picks in his four-year career. Verner has also recovered five fumbles and forced two fumbles, which shows he has a nose for the football.
Verner is a great tackling cornerback in run support and made his first Pro Bowl in 2013. At age 25 he was one of the most sought-after free agent cornerbacks on the market.
The Bucs could be in for a flurry of activity again on Wednesday as the team is entertaining visits from Chicago QB Josh McCown, Cincinnati OT Anthony Collins, Green Bay C Evan Dietrich-Smith and Chicago CB Charles Tillman.
Despite the acquisition of Verner, the team will look to acquire another cornerback in free agency, probably Tillman, who played for Smith in Chicago. In addition to Verner, the Buccaneers also have Johnthan Banks, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, Marc Anthony, D.J. Moore, Anthony Gaitor, Rashaan Melvin, Deveron Carr and Revis – at least for the time being – at the cornerback position.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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