Buccaneers Sign Alterraun Verner
Tampa Bay has replaced Darrelle Revis with a younger and more affordable option in Alterraun Verner. Verner signed a four-year, $26.5 million deal with $14 million guaranteed. He’ll be leaned on heavily by the new coaching regime as the staff implements more Tampa-2 schemes.
The contract numbers here are pretty favorable considering Verner is still only 25 years old and graded out as the 12th-best cornerback last season. Revis was the number one cornerback overall, but wasn’t worth the money in the new defensive system. Verner should fit well. He’ll need to improve a bit against the run but was still average in that department. In coverage he was very good and was rarely penalized, which is more important than you might think in today’s “hands-off” NFL.
What’s really interesting is how the Titans never seemed to value Verner as a starting NFL cornerback. Before the 2013 season they were taking a look at him as a safety. Verner also faded some down the stretch last season but from what I’ve heard the Titans locker room was in turmoil. Players from perennial winning organizations like Delanie Walker, who came over from the 49ers, were shocked by the negative team attitude.
These factors could explain Verner’s slip down the stretch, especially if he knew his days in Tennessee were numbered. It will be interesting to see how he fits in the Lovie Smith/Leslie Frazier scheme and if he’ll blossom even more with a change of scenery to the Bucs’ bay area.
Tampa-2 cornerbacks usually make fairly productive fantasy footballers. Last season Verner posted 64 solo tackles and 18 assists to go along with two interceptions. That was good for the 30th-best defensive back. He’s not the biggest corner at 5’10’ and 186 pounds, but if the scheme can lead to a significant tackle increase he could be a low-end DB2 next season.
Of course that doesn’t mean too much since corners are a dime a dozen in IDP leagues. Verner could mean a lot more to the Bucs as they try to bring back a Tampa-2 defense from where it earned it’s name.
Smith, Frazier, Verner and the rest of the Tampa Bay secondary will have their work cut out for them going up against three elite quarterbacks twice a year in the NFC South. But adding a free agent at a position of high value for a solid price is a good start.
Nate Hodges is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and radio host for Tennessee Sports Radio (Saturdays at noon eastern). Listen at TNsportsradio.com. His work can also be found at TopTierFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter – @NateNFL