There is a popular narrative going around the internet at the moment stating that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should release cornerback Darrelle Revis. The reasons are varied, and none of them make sense.
Here are the reasons why you or someone you know may think the Buccaneers should release Darrelle Revis, and why they’re wrong.
Myth: Darrelle Revis had a down year.
Even if Darrelle Revis has a down year by his standards, which I don’t even believe he did, he still the best cornerback in football.
Pro Football Focus graded Darrelle Revis as the best corner in the NFL. But even better than that, the statistics from PFF reveal that other teams respected Darrelle Revis as much as ever.
According to their statistics, Revis was the second-least targeted corner in the NFL behind only Richard Sherman of the Seahawks. On a per-play basis, teams threw at Revis less often than Patrick Peterson, Joe Haden, or whichever other corner you might think is better than Revis.
So let’s just say Darrelle Revis was 80-90% of his “normal” self in 2013. If that’s the case, he’ll be two years removed from his ACL injury and playing for a better defensive coach in 2014, meaning his great performance in 2013 will only get better, and he merits every penny he’s being paid.
Myth: Lovie Smith only runs the Tampa 2, and Revis is a waste in that defense.
Lovie Smith adapted along with the NFL, and by the end of his time in Chicago, he was using a “multiple” defense with different looks and schemes. He would put players in man coverage when he needed to, and would mix things up to keep the offense off guard.
Today’s NFL isn’t suited to the old Tampa 2. It’s a tool for the defense to use at times, rather than a scheme to base a defense off of. Even Smith knows that, and he proved it late in his Chicago career.
Smith is a great defensive mind. He’ll know how to use Revis. In fact, having Revis in town may have been icing on the cake for his return to Tampa. A good coach will know how to use a good player.
Plus, if anyone would need to be replaced in a Tampa 2 scheme on defense, it would be middle linebacker Mason Foster, who would not be suited to drop deep down the field in pass coverage. Revis is a fit for any defense, and is one of the best corners of this generation. He doesn’t need to be replaced due to a change in schemes.
Myth: The Buccaneers can use the cap space Revis’ clears to sign Charles Tillman and Jared Allen
The Buccaneers can sign Charles Tillman and Jared Allen if they want to do so, and they don’t need to cut Revis to do it.
Charles Tillman is over 30, coming off of an injury, and uncertain of where he wants to go next season. If a reunion with his old head coach is what he wants, it will be easy for the Bucs to set aside enough money to bring in the veteran corner.
The same goes for Jared Allen. While he may go for a higher price tag because he still shows signs of being a solid pass rusher, he’ll not command a king’s ransom, and the Buccaneers do have the cap room to make moves without getting rid of Revis.
According to the Over the Cap calculator, the Buccaneers have $17 million to work with in 2014, with the option to free up more by releasing certain players or restructuring the contracts of others.
That’s more than enough to sign the rookies from the 2014 draft class along with a pair of veteran defenders, and still have room to make another move or two. Mark Dominik left the books in Tampa Bay in perfect condition, and there are plenty of options to free up money that don’t involve releasing Darrelle Revis.