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Just over a month ago, in the midst of the free agent frenzy, I asked you, the readers, if you thought the Buccaneers could have a successful offseason without acquiring Darrelle Revis from the New York Jets.
Surprisingly, almost two-thirds of voters thought that Mark Dominik and his crew could have a successful spring and summer without splashing the cash, and draft picks, needed to bring in the All-Pro corner and his island. As the offseason has worn on, and it has appeared that Revis was the focus of all the Buccaneers’ efforts, many fans (myself included) had to shift focus as well, and assume the plans for the front office included Revis playing corner at almost any cost.
So what if the Jets’ asking price is too high? What if it’s time to just move on, and assume the Jets don’t have a realistic trade value for Revis?
I believe it is that time. The games are over. The Jets aren’t being realistic. The Buccaneers have the draft picks they need…
It’s time to move on from Darrelle Revis.
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The latest rumors have the Jets demanding a first, third, and fifth round pick from the Buccaneers for the superstar cornerback. Think about what that means for a second. A first round pick should be spent on a sure starter and possible star (like Revis, who was taken with the 14th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft), a third round pick should be spent on a future starter or role player (Jeremy Zuttah was a third rounder for the Buccaneers), and a fifth round pick should be spent on key depth. And while Darrelle Revis is almost certainly better than any player in this years’ draft (but remember, at least 13 teams didn’t see Revis as being a future All-Pro coming out of college, either), the combination of three players who could all make a positive impact on the Buccaneers for years to come does add up to a valuable combination.
What makes the group of draftees even more valuable is their salaries. The 13th overall pick will make no more than three million dollars per season, and a third or fifth round selection would make much less than that. So for a combined sum of less than one-third of what it would cost to sign Revis, the Buccaneers could conceivably add a starting corner, a potential starter at tight end, and a backup running back, all of whom would play a key role in 2013. Those are realistic targets with the three picks the Jets are demanding for Revis, and it would come at a ridiculously discounted rate.
So now combine both elements of this potential trade. We’re not only talking about giving up multiple draft choices which all have potential value (and could all be key contributors in the future), but also sending away those picks to spend 15 million dollars per year on a cornerback who is at the peak of his career, but coming off of a serious injury. Signing Revis to a four or five year deal means committing to him until he enters his early 30’s, when his value will inevitably start to decline. Compare that to the low risk of signing three rookies, who are all entering their athletic primes, and are extremely cost controlled.
The prospect of adding a single, dominant player is certainly attractive. Revis is a uniquely gifted athlete, and he would make the Buccaneers better. But at what cost, and at what risk? The addition of a single, dominant player by trade or free agency is usually reserved for teams who are on the verge of contention for a Super Bowl, and need just one key piece. Look at the Peyton Manning signing to Denver as a perfect example. That was a team ripe with talent all over the field, and lacking the elite quarterback needed to win a Super Bowl. Now they have that one player they needed, and they’re considered favorites to win it all heading into 2013.
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The Buccaneers are still a couple of years away from truly being a perennial threat to win the NFC and contend for a Super Bowl. They may very well surprise a few media types and opposing head coaches and win double digit games in 2013, and that could be because of Darrelle Revis. But you don’t have to look much further than the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl winning defense to see the recipe for success. The team was littered with homegrown talent on both offense and defense, with Anquan Boldin being the only notable star on the team who wasn’t drafted by the franchise or signed as an undrafted free agent.
So while adding Revis is certainly tempting, the wise and rational thing to do is to keep the draft choices and potentially add three key contributors for the future, and keep cap space available to sign other, more reasonably priced star players. Financial flexibility and reasonable spending has set the Buccaneers up with all the cap space they need as they rebuild under Greg Schiano. Keeping that cap space open and keeping valuable draft choices seems to fit the plan much more than blowing a large portion of salary and a massive haul of draft potential on one player who might be a sure thing, but is only one man.
In other words, rather than Revis Island, I would like to see the Buccaneers use those draft picks on the Desmond Trufant – Gavin Escobar – Le’Veon Bell archipelago, and still have some money left to re-sign our own, and sign more talent next year, and the year after. Because the last thing Buccaneers’ fans want is to be back in the hunt for a year or two, only to fall out due to overspending and leaving the bank empty when other needs arise.
Give your thoughts, Buc Nation. What do you want the Bucs to do: Sell the farm for Revis? Or hold onto our cash and picks, and continue to build slowly but surely? Leave your answer in the comment section below.