Since free agency opened March 11, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and getting ready for next season. Here at CSNWashington.com, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the moves made by teams who appear on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule.
So who’s gotten better? Who’s gotten worse? Let’s take a closer look.
Up today …
Opponent/location: Tampa Bay Buccaneers/FedEx Field
2013 record: 4-12 (last place in the NFC South)
Key additions: QB Josh McCown (Bears), DE Michael Johnson (Bengals), T Anthony Collins (Bengals), C Evan Dietrich-Smith (Packers), TE Brandon Myers (Giants), CB Alterraun Verner (Titans), CB Mike Jenkins (Raiders), DT Clinton McDonald (Seahawks), LB Dane Fletcher (Patriots), G Oniel Cousins (Browns).
Key losses: CB Darrelle Revis (Patriots), LB Adam Hayward (Redskins), OT Donald Penn (Raiders), WR Tiquan Underwood (Panthers), FB Erik Lorig (Saints), G Davin Joseph (unsigned), LB Dekoda Watson (Jaguars), G Ted Larsen (Cardinals), OL Gabe Carimi (Falcons).
Best move: Signing Johnson, a physically imposing 6 foot 7, 270-pound end who notched 11.5 sacks in a breakout performance two seasons ago. In 2013, though, the 27-year-old recorded only 3.5 sacks as opposing teams keyed on stopping him. The Bucs are betting he’ll regain his 2012 form.
The bottom line: After last year’s debacle, the Bucs fired coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik and replaced them with Lovie Smith and Jason Licht, respectively.
But the changes didn’t stop there—not by a long shot.
The Bucs released their best defender, Revis, in a painful-but-necessary cap move. But Smith and Licht also overhauled the roster on both sides of the ball, signing 10 new players, including a new quarterback (McCown), a stud pass rusher (Johnson), a Pro Bowl corner (Verner) as well as a couple of starters on the offensive line (Collins and Dietrich-Smith).
And, oh yeah, they’re going all futuristic with a brand new uniforms, too.
There’s no question that the Bucs were the league’s most aggressive team in free agency. And, on paper, they appear to be much improved.
"We did have a plan," Smith told the team's website this week. "The first part of the plan, of course, was to evaluate our roster and see exactly what we had and what spots we needed to fill. ...We were ready when they blew the horn to start free agency, we got guys in, they liked what they saw. And once you hear about a couple of players getting aboard, it tends to add some excitement for some of the other players. We couldn't have been more pleased with the first haul. ...We wanted players who couple come instantly and give us something."
Now comes the hard part for Smith: pulling it all together.