Oct 23, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerbackDarrelle Revis
(24) returns an interception during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
Trade talks between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets have apparently not progressed to completion, but Tampa Bay has not denied their interest in the NFL’s best cornerback. Before they can pull the trigger on the trade, the Bucs are doing some soul-searching to decide what they can give up. Any trade for Revis will have to include a first round pick, either the 13th overall selection in 2013 or a first-rounder in 2014 draft, plus a probable additional sweetener. The Bucs are understandably reluctant to part with a high pick in this year’s rookie lottery and the Jets are also completely justified in pressing their case for the selection to be included in any deal. Trading a player of Revis’ stature is rare in the NFL, even one coming of an injury, as is the star CB. The Bucs also need to work out compensation and agree to a new contract that will certainly be in excess of $6 million per year.
Why should the Bucs make this trade? Revis is 27 and has had to rehab a knee. There is no guarantee that he will be the player he was prior to the knee problem. But there are good reasons why the Bucs should include their ’14 first-rounder, maybe even an additional third-rounder and open up their checkbook for Revis. The most obvious is the Bucs woeful pass defense. With the drafting of Mark Barron and the signing of ex-49er stud Dashon Goldson, the Bucs have the back end of the secondary fixed for the foreseeable future. After they parted ways with Aqib Talib last year, the corner play was abysmal, and the talent currently on the roster does not show much upside. Eric Wright has never lived up to his potential and is not the answer. Bringing in Revis will immediately solidify the cornerback position and the Bucs have the cap room (nearly $28 million at the time of writing) to offer him the long-term deal that he wants. Revis is still young enough to remain in his prime as the Bucs defense grows under coach Greg Schiano. His arrival would push E.J. Biggers into the backup role to which he is more suited, should the Buccaneers re-sign him. The Bucs could play more of the pressure 4-3 that Schiano is on the record as favoring with Revis shutting down opponent’s best receiver in man coverage, as he has consistently done for the Jets through the years. Another good reason is simply a matter of risk – odds are Revis will return to form. Draft picks, on the other hand, represent potential players, not probable stars. Giving up one or more draft picks for a superstar is a swap that any team has to consider. Time for the Bucs to make the move that will solidify their secondary, energize their fanbase, and show a commitment from ownership to winning now.