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Buccaneers Defense Gets Mini-Overhaul


Written By: Florida Bengal

One of the biggest moves of the free agency period came before the free agency window officially opened.

Hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET start of the 2014 league year, it was leaked that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and free agent defensive end Michael Johnson had agreed to a five-year, $43.75 million contract.

In five years with the Bengals, Johnson racked up 26.5 sacks, defended 25 passes and had three interceptions. Johnson’s sack total dropped from 11.5 to 3.5 last season but he hit career highs in tackles (56), passes defended (9) and fumbles forced (2).

The team also added defensive tackle Clinton McDonald in the afternoon before making its second big splash of the day Tuesday evening with the addition of Pro Bowl cornerback Altteraun Verner on a four-year, $26.5-million deal. The 5-foot-10 corner defended 22 passes and had five interceptions a season ago. He’ll take over as Tampa Bay’s No. 1 corner with the release of Darrelle Revis on Wednesday afternoon.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Verner and Johnson will combine to make $15.373-million in 2014, which is less than the $16-million Revis would have made this year.

On offense, the team signed former Giants tight end Brandon Myers on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they added former Bears quarterback Josh McCown.

The team is far from done. The team website confirms that cornerback Charles Tillman (who has a connection to head coach Lovie Smith from his days in Chicago), tackle Anthony Collins, receiver Ted Ginn, center Evan Dietrich-Smith and linebacker Dane Fletcher are all visiting the team.

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