The wheeling and dealing keeps rolling on, more fast and more furious with each passing day of the 2014 NFL free agency period.

One of the smallest pools of available talent in recent league history led some teams to fire all their ammunition on the first day, but other teams are taking a longer look at who's left to get more help at the lowest rate possible.

As the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks continue to shed players, future Super Bowl contenders are trying to add the best personnel still sitting on the free agent sidelines.

Of all the twists and turns of this healthy exchange of talent for all these promising teams, what strategy will prove to be most effective? Which team's got the tactical advantage after the first flurry of horse-trading action?

Were the Denver Broncos wise to pay top dollar to snatch up some of the best available defenders in the early hours (Aqib Talib, Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward)? Possibly, but have they done enough to keep their offense rolling along by replacing Eric Decker with Emmanuel Sanders?

Did the New England Patriots show more patience and discipline in picking up key additions to both sides of the ball (Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Brandon LaFell) and re-inking one of their major stars who could have strayed (Julian Edelman)?

How about them Philadelphia Eagles? Darren Sproles and LeSean "Shady" Mccoy will be the most devestating pair of backs in the history of the league if they both live up to their potential next season. Their threat to run or roll out to the flat will open up so many more options for quarterback Nick Foles, but what about defense?

So much work is still to be done for so many squads, but what may be the most surprising team of all next season is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost 12 games last season. Thanks to the moves this team made so far this season, they could go from Super Bowl pretenders to serious contenders.

Every fan knows the Buccaneers lost the cornerback many pundits consider to be the best in the league. Revis Island is in the neighborhood of Nantucket right now, but that means Tampa Bay only loses a fourth-round pick to the New York Jets.

The new cap room from the Revis void and other sustainable departures gave team management time to scramble and spend the money needed to shore up their team across the board. What they gained is so much more intriguing than what they lost to kick off this free agency season.

The Buccaneers really made themselves a defensive dream team in free agency.

First, they scored on securing cornerback Alterraun Verner from the Tennessee Titans at $26.5 million over four years. He registered 288 combined tackles, two forced fumbles, and 11 interceptions (124 return yards and a touchdown) in four years with the Titans.

Sharing the load for the defense will be defensive end Michael Johnson. He comes from the Bengals and will play in Tampa Bay for the next five years, earning $43.75 million ... if he fills out the entire length of his new deal. Johnson is widely considered by the experts to be a top five free agent pickup so far this year.

Over six years in the league, all with the Bengals, he ammassed 202 combined tackles in 79 games. Among those were 26.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles and recovered another three with three interceptions on top of that.

He will be key in helping Tampa Bay put more pressure on the offensive-heavy New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers next season.

Tampa Bay is also like many teams who can claim to now have a piece of the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks defense. The Buccaneers swiftly secured the services of 27-year-old Clinton McDonald on March 11 with a four-year, $12 million deal.

McDonald, considered a huge loss for Seattle, is on track for a fierce NFL career at defensive tackle. He will be looking for his 100th career tackle in his first game with the Bucs next season. The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder will be a nice anchor on the Buccaneers defensive line.

Standing right behind McDonald will be ex-Patriot Dane Fletcher at linebacker, who also inked a one-year deal with the Buccaneers in the early days of free agency. But, wait ... there's more. Offensively, Tampa Bay took a few more steps in the right direction.

Of course, real change starts at the top, so Tampa Bay is banking on 34-year-old quarterback Josh McCown to lead his new team to Super Bowl glory next season. The new TB QB (and former Chicago Bear) will earn $10 million in two seasons with the Buccaneers if he serves out his new contract.

This is the quarterback's seventh NFL team since he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2002 NFL draft. He has nearly 800 career completions for 8,827 yards and 50 TDs over 58 games played. It's now or never for this journeyman QB to shine in the starting role or be a second-fiddle backup for the duration of his career.

Though McCown also has 45 interceptions over the course of his career, last year's numbers were encouraging. Over 149 completions in the eight games he appeared in during the 2013 season, McCown only threw one interception.

Tampa Bay also added G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith (four years) from the Green Packers and offensive tackle Anthony Collins (five years) from the Bengals in deals worth a combined $44.25 million. So, McCown will have some good protection.

If the offensive line holds up for the new quarterback, he can also look to connect early and often with new Buccaneers tight end Brandon Myers.

The Bucs snatched the 28-year-old Myers from the Giants with an affordable two-year, $4.25 million deal. He has 158 catches for 1,578 yards and eight TDs in 74 games played with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders (09-12).

All the pieces add up to one of the most comprehensive approaches to making a team an instant player in their division after finishing in the basement last year.

Even with teams like Oakland and Cleveland having all the cap space under the sun, a little team like Tampa Bay quietly shook up the free agency period this year by nabbing a wide group of amazingly talented players.

Fans may not be saying "wait 'till next year" in Tampa Bay next February. It could finally be "the year" for a Florida team with limited success in their league history so far.

One thing is almost certain: this team ought to win a lot more than four games next season.


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