Mar 132014
 

The Buccaneers replaced Darrelle Revis at 16 million a year with Alterraun Verner at 6.625 million a year (26.5 million over 4 years with 14 million guaranteed). I still would have kept Revis, even at 16 million, because he’s such a rare talent, and worked to build the coverage scheme around him on an island, rather than forcing him into a zone coverage scheme. However, this is a fantastic value and Verner is a much more natural fit for the coverage scheme that Lovie Smith really wants to run. Grading this move only, and ignoring the Revis aspect, this is a fantastic move.

This was a strong cornerback class in free agency, but all of the other top cornerbacks had warts. Sam Shields, Aqib Talib, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Vontae Davis all have inconsistent pasts, while Brent Grimes is going into his age 31 season and has a significant injury history. Verner has never had an truly elite year like any of those guys, but he’s made all 64 starts since being drafted in the 4th round in 2010 and he’s graded out in the top-24 on Pro Football Focus in all 4 seasons, something only Joe Haden and Jason McCourty can also say. Every other top cornerbacks has either had at least one down year (Brandon Flowers, Vontae Davis, etc) been hurt (Brent Grimes, Darrelle Revis etc) or been in the league less than 4 years (Richard Sherman).

This past season was Verner’s past, as he graded out 11th overall among cornerbacks. Considering what other cornerbacks have gotten this off-season (Brent Grimes 4 years, 32 million, Aqib Talib 6 years, 57 million, Sam Shields 4 years, 39 million, Vontae Davis 4 years, 39 million) this is an absolute steal, even before you get into how good of a schemetic fit Verner is for what Lovie Smith wants to do.

Grade: A

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