Alterraun Verner has agreed to terms on an 4-year, $26.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as first reported by Adam Schefter. The deal includes $14 million guaranteed.
Verner, previously of the Tennessee Titans, went to his first Pro Bowl this season after recording 5 interceptions and 57 tackles in 2013. The move makes sense, Verner was primarily viewed as a cover-2 corner by most, a perfect fit for Lovie Smith's tampa 2 defense.
The Steelers were reportedly in the mix for the 26 year old's services, but the going rate for a cornerback with his skills was expected to be higher than they could afford. Then the Steelers' signing of former Panthers safety Mike Mitchell seemed to all but assure that there would not be enough money to bring Verner to Pittsburgh.
What is interesting is that Sam Shields seemed to have set the going rate for cornerbacks at 4 years, $39 million when the Packers extended him before free agency - numbers that were exactly matched by the Colts to retain Vontae Davis earlier today. At face value compared to those deals, it would appear that Verner may have settled for less than he could have gotten. But looking at signing bonuses, Davis' was $20 million while Shields' was just $12.5 million, with Verner fitting in between them.
Regardless of what the going rate was, Verner's $6.6 million per year deal was almost certainly in the Steelers price range prior to their signing of Mitchell, and might still have been possible even after. I guess we'll never know...