Don't discount Bucs-Darrelle Revis rumors
The NFL rumor mill is churning today, driven largely by rumblings about the future of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is on the trading block and soon could land somewhere.
The New York Daily News advanced the story today by reporting, via sources, that a trade is a mere certainty, saying other clubs have already expressed interest.
As this possibility gets nearer to reality, we have to at least consider the idea that the Bucs could be in the conversation. In fact, a handful of reports already are linking the Bucs to the trade talks (see here and here).
We outlined a few weeks ago why making a deal for Revis would be a very questionable decision. And those issues still exist. But it’s also worth examining why the Bucs are a very realistic landing spot for Revis, thought by many to be the best defensive player in football.
For one, there’s the obvious: The Bucs have a major need for help at cornerback. Aqib Talib is gone and Eric Wright is expected to follow. The draft may or may not solve all the Bucs’ problems, so other moves are necessary.
But more important is this critical factor: The Bucs have the financial wherewithal to make this happen. Swinging a deal for Revis not only requires draft picks/compensation to the Jets. It almost certainly will require that the new team and Revis agree to a new contract before the deal is complete. Such a deal would likely be the biggest in Bucs history, but their strong salary-cap position gives them the ability to take on that sort of contract.
This is key. One of the things the Bucs are leaning on heavily this offseason is their salary-cap situation in relation to that of other teams. The Bucs, with more than $30 million in cap room and more potentially on the way based on pending roster moves, are one of few teams with significant flexibility. The fact that so many teams are pressed up against the cap eliminates a number of would-be suitors for Revis (and some top-dollar free agents for that matter) from the start.
That puts the Bucs in an enviable position, if they indeed want Revis. If fewer teams pursue him – and his contract and health concerns will scare off a few, too – the trade compensation the Jets are demanding can only decrease. Rumors have the asking price at a first-round pick and an additional choice in a subsequent round. But that can change.
It’s not clear where the Bucs really stand on Revis, but if they pulled off a potential trade for the All-Pro – assuming he is healthy and plays at the same level he has – it arguably would change the complexion of their team more than any player they could realistically acquire.
The Bucs have shown a willingness to take some risks. In 2009, they tried to move heaven and earth to sign Albert Haynesworth for about $100 million. Coming in second to the Redskins turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Later that same year, they pulled off a trade for oft-injured tight end Kellen Winslow and gave him a new contract. Though he didn’t help them win many games, his knee held up and he was quite productive before being traded last year.
It’s too early to predict a repeat of that with Revis, but for the reasons outlined here, you shouldn’t rule it out, either.