Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown (12) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
When we pull up Around The NFL’s same report from the 2014 offseason, the first “winner” is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"“Lovie Smith’s influence should be like a warm spring thaw after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wintery 2013 season. The Bucs revamped an already solid roster without losing many pieces. The signing of Alterraun Verner more than made up for cutting Darrelle Revis. Verner came much cheaper and is a better fit in Smith’s system. Adding Michael Johnson to the defense gives Gerald McCoy a Bash Brother to hunt quarterbacks with. Scrapping the offensive line for upgrades at every spot was a stroke of genius. If Josh McCown can recapture his 2013 magic, the Bucs could surge to the top of the NFC South.”"
There are so many things proven dead wrong in this statement only one season later. Darrelle Revis was not replaced, and in fact he went on to win a super bowl and cash in on another huge deal this offseason.
Josh McCown was a terrible mistake at quarterback. He was in his mid-30’s and never anything more than a journeyman back up. Yet he has a four game stretch where he looked good and Tampa threw a blank check his way.
McCown finished the year with 1,664 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was cut promptly following the season. Also cut from their “winnings” was defensive end Michael Johnson.
By winning free agency, the team so many thought would compete for the NFC South finished 2-14. The only thing they won was the top pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
This article also listed the Oakland Raiders as winners. The Raiders picked up quarterback Matt Schaub, receiver James Jones, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and running back Maurice Jones-Drew just to name a few.
This many free agent signings has never before worked out, but for some reason Around The NFL thought it was brilliant.
"Perhaps only half of those signings work out. That still marks an upgrade for the Raiders starting lineup as they inch toward respectability. Coach Dennis Allen did a laudable job coaching up a rag-tag collection of players last season, and he has more to work with this time around."
The Raiders didn’t “inch toward respectability.” Instead they flamed out and finished 3-13. Dennis Allen is no longer a coach and Jones-Drew has retired after a pitiful season of 43 carries for 96 yards.
Other winners included the Denver Broncos who picked up DeMarcus Ware after Dallas decided he was no longer worth $10 million plus per year. Denver also picked up cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward.
In the end, the Broncos lost their opening playoff game in embarrassing fashion. Their roster of older players wore down after a hot start and were unable to get back to the Super Bowl as they did the year before.
Next: So How Did The Losers Do?