Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Free Agency: Evaluating the Contract Values for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been throwing cash around since free agency opened Tuesday, but did the Bucs get their moneys worth?

The Bucs brought in Michael Johnson, Brandon Myers, Clinton McDonald and Alterraun Verner on the first day of free agency. They then added Josh McCown and Anthony Collins on the second day. On Friday they snagged Evan Dietrich-Smith.

That’s a lot of money spent, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted.

But did the Bucs get value?  And how did former Buccaneers fare on the open market? Let’s take a look.

Incoming Players

Michael Johnson

The Buccaneers’ most expensive free agent signing was the former Cincinnati Bengals standout defensive end. He got a 5-year, $43.75 million deal, which equates to $8.75 million a season. However, that is a significant drop compared to what Johnson earned last season as he made $11 million, although that was due to the Bengals placing the franchise tag on him. The Bucs got good value for a quality, and needed, defensive end that can get to the quarterback with regularity.

Brandon Myers

Myers signed a two-year deal worth $4.25 million. This is an efficient contract, in fact, it’s cheaper than I thought Myers would sign for. His shortcomings as a blocker are known but he is a very good passing tight end, which is where his value lies. With NFL teams looking to use their tight ends in passing situations more and more, and thus driving the prices of those free agents up, the Bucs got a good deal with the former New York Giant. For the upcoming season, Tampa Bay are paying their two tight ends a little over $2.6 million.

Clinton McDonald

The Super Bowl winner got a four-year $12 million deal from the Bucs. For a guy that plug the holes and get to the quarterback, an average hit of $3 million a year is a nice price for the Bucs to pay. However, he has been paid based off of one good season as he wasn’t a major factor during his first three years in the league. McDonald will get to play alongside Gerald McCoy who often demands double teams, so he will likely have an of opportunity to make his deal seem worthwhile.

Alterraun Verner

Verner’s four-year deal worth ‘only’ $25.75 million is possibly one of the best pieces of business done so far in free agency. While looking at free agency predictions, some analysts thought Verner could get $55 million over five years. The Bucs got him for over less than that estimate. Verner is a starting-calibre corner who will be a game-changer for the Bucs in the secondary. His annual cap hit of just over $6.4 million is a great price for a starting corner. The Bucs got a great deal here for a player who had 11 interceptions in for seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

 Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Collins

Anthony Collins’ deal with the Bucs basically replaces Donald Penn, who was cut on Thursday. Collins is going to make $6 million a year after penning a five-year contract. Last season, Penn made $6.3 million so the Bucs get his replacement for a little cheaper too. Collins will walk right in as the starter at left tackle, and despite not playing week in and week out, his value with this contract is about right.

Josh McCown

The journeyman signed a two-year deal for $10 million. It’s a strange contract though as it is too much for a backup, but too little for a starter. Bucs head coach Lovie Smith has already declared McCown as the starter, but a two-year deal does nothing but indicate that he is a gap quarterback until the franchise QB arrives in town. It’s nice the Bucs don’t have a ton of money invested in a quarterback right now, but at some point over the next few years they are going to have to invest in ‘the guy.’ That guy isn’t McCown but for his contract is more than adequate for a guy who will be under center for the 2014 season.

Evan Dietrich-Smith

The Bucs found themselves a new member on the offensive line in Dietrich-Smith. The former Green Bay Packer signed a four-year deal worth $14.25 million for an average hit of just over $3.5 million a year. EDS, as he is known, will likely start at either guard or center in 2014 and for an offensive lineman to come in that cheaply is a great deal for the Bucs.

Departing Players

While the Bucs have brought in seven guys, they have also lost four of their own players: Ted Larsen, Dekoda Watson, Adam Hayward, and of course Darrelle Revis. Let’s take a look at their new deals and whether they were warranted.

Ted Larsen

He got a two-year deal for a reasonable $2.6 million from the Arizona Cardinals. He’s a versatile player who can play either guard or center so he has worth. He’s never been a star but has often been a solid contributor. His deal pays him and gives him security for the new couple of years.

Dekoda Watson

The former Bucs linebacker signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he will make $6.25 million over three years. Watson made only five starts during his four years in Tampa Bay and played mostly as a backup linebacker and on special teams. He’s probably been overpaid a little bit by the Jags but not substantially.

Adam Hayward

One of the Bucs captains last year, Hayward got a three-year, $3 million deal from the Washington Redskins. Judging by the money he is being paid, he’ll remain an integral part of their special team unit, just like he was in Tampa, rather than being a regular on defense. Hayward does however have the ability to step in and play on defense when called upon. His leadership value alone makes this signing worthwhile for Washington and both sides appear to have got an even deal here.

Darrelle Revis

Well, he isn’t making $16 million anymore but unfortunately for Bucs fan he’s not playing in Tampa Bay anymore either. Revis got a one-year deal from the New England Patriots worth $12 million. The Patriots also have a $20 million option for 2015 but there’s no way that’ll be picked up. More than anything, it will force the Pats and Revis to talk. A one-year deal is good for Revis as he gets to prove he is fully healthy after an injury prone year in Tampa and then can test the market again next year. We all know how good Revis is so his value will always be high but he gets one more year to really show his true worth.

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