NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers: Buccaneers emerge as early winners

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have emerged as early 2014 NFL free agency winners after the first four days of free agency.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are free agency winners, if we can believe the national media. Like in the SB Nation video above, where the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers emerge as winner. John Clayton named the Bucs as one of his "winners", alongside the Broncos and Atlanta FalconsChris Burke thought the Bucs were winners, to a point, as  he questioned the addition of Josh McCown and Darrelle Revis' release. Frank Schwab called the Bucs winners, behind the Denver Broncos.

Sporting News (with an annoying, auto-playing video) named the Bucs their main winners. And finally, Greg Bedard listed Alterraun Verner as one of his "happy" moves, though he was less convinced by the signing of Michael Johnson.

Of course, every Bucs fan also knows the Bucs were free agency winners the past two years as well. Which got them a couple of losing seasons and a lot of embarrassment. Still, it's always fun when other outlets say good things about the Bucs. There's a crucial difference with the previous two years, too: the Bucs are getting value in free agency, rather than handing out top-of-the-market contracts.

With Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner, Anthony Collins, Josh McCown, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Clinton McDonald and Brandon Myers, the Bucs have added seven names to their roster. Some of them, big names. Others, less big. All of them should be starters. That's a remarkable amount of activity for a team that certainly wasn't without talent.

The Bucs said last month that they'd be active. "We're going to try to be proactive," Licht told the Tampa Tribune. "We're going to try to fill as many holes as we can in free agency, because I don't want to go into the draft with our first pick, having to pick a position."

Tampa Bay has seven new starters and have very few holes left on their roster. They could use depth at cornerback, receiver and along the offensive line -- but that's true for most NFL teams, anyway. But the Bucs aren't done yet, and they do appear intent on adding at least a cornerback and receiver. Receiver Emmanuel Sanders is among the players who have visited in recent days.

That this activity would lead to the Bucs being labelled "free agency winners" is no surprise. The question is whether they'll actually be winners come January 2015. Or, with a lot of luck, February 2015.

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