Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel (16) throws the ball before being tackled by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) during the second quarter of the game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Johnson's Reported Deal With the Buccaneers Is Only The First Step in "Replacing Revis"

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the verge of letting go of Darrelle Revis, leaving them with one of the highest cap numbers in the league, and a roster in need of an overhaul after a 4-12 season. But according to reports, they’ve already come to terms with one of their potential targets.

According to Josina Anderson, the Buccaneers have a deal in place with free agent defensive end Michael Johnson on a not-too-expensive contract averaging just over $8 million over five seasons.

Johnson was the best defensive lineman on the market, as Greg Hardy was franchise tagged by the Carolina Panthers before he had a chance to talk to other teams. And the former Bengal agreed to terms with the Buccaneers rather quickly, and agreed to a reasonable contract considering his status as the best player available at his position.

But without the services of Revis at corner, the Buccaneers suddenly have a huge need at defensive back, along with needing to revamp the offensive line, add talent on offense, and continue to build a front-seven to get after opposing quarterbacks.

The front office, led by new GM Jason Licht, has backed itself into a corner, now needing to spend every penny they have in this offseason’s free agent crop, as letting go of an elite player like Revis can only be justified by pointing to his enormous contract.

So what else will the Buccaneers do with their money? That’s the question that will determine the future of the franchise, and its new leadership.

Free agency is an incredibly risky affair, with plenty of overpaid mistakes littering the history of the NFL. Being “right” about signing the correct player at an ideal price is tough enough with one player (like Johnson). It gets even harder when a team tries to spend on multiple free agents in the same offseason.

There is still a lot of work to be done in Tampa Bay, and by making a high-profile move like releasing Darrelle Revis, every move will be put under a more powerful magnifying glass. Because every player the Buccaneers add this season “could have been” a fully healthy Darrelle Revis, and that’s a tough shadow to live under.

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