The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become one of the routine big-money spender once NFL free agency begins. They've already signed a number of this year's top prospects, including Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson and Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
Now they've signed arguably the No. cornerback on the market after agreeing to a deal with cornerback Alterraun Verner:
For new #Bucs CB Alterraun Verner, it’s four-year deal with $26.5M with $14M guaranteed— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2014
Verner had a career-high 5 INTs last season and has 11 career picks. He was a fourth-round pick of Titans in 2010— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 12, 2014
The Tennessee Titans took Verner with the No. 104 pick in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. You don't usually see shutdown corners on Day 3, but he's slowly become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL since then.
According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 12th-best corner in the NFL in 2013 with a +9.5 grade. He tied for fifth in the NFL with five interceptions in 2013, and his 23 pass deflections led the league that year.
Verner previously said the New york Jets and New England Patriots were possibilities. Devin McCourty, whose brother was Verner’s teammate in Tennessee, had been lobbying for him to come to New England.
Alas, the Bucs have sign another top-tier free agent. Hopefully, they'll continue to do so and not have enough room to sign offensive tackle Anthony Collins away from the Bengals.
Collins will visit the Bucs on Wednesday, but with som any big-name free agent signings, they may not be able to offer him a deal the Bengals won't match.
It is also worth noting the Bengals play Tampa next year, which suddenly has become a more difficult game.