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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Report: Revis signs with Patriots: 1 year, $12 million



TAMPA -- One year, two draft picks and $16 million later, Darrelle Revis is suddenly no longer a Bucs cornerback.

And just as quickly as the Pro Bowler was released Wednesday after the Bucs were unable to find a trade partner willing to take on his $16-million salary, Revis had a new home, landing with the New England Patriots only hours later with a one-year deal with $12 million, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

As much as the Bucs gave up to get Revis -- a 2013 first-round draft pick and a fourth-round pick in May's draft -- Tampa Bay carefully chose to let him go with nothing in return. Difficult as it is for some Bucs fans to accept, the team's new leadership made it clear with Revis' release that they preferred the flexibility of having $16 million to spend on multiple players who could help the team's many needs.

"We're going to not look in the rear-view mirror, and look forward. We're excited about the future now," new general manager Jason Licht said, introducing four free agents who joined the team at a combined average cost of less than what Revis would have made himself. "It was a tough decision. He's a good player, a very good player. We've said that from the beginning. We've been able to add four, five very good players as well."

The previous Bucs administration of general manager Mark Dominik and coach Greg Schiano -- both fired in December after a 4-12 season -- had invested heavily in Revis last year, hoping he could turn a 7-9 team from 2012 into a playoff team. He returned healthy from knee surgery, but that didn't keep the Bucs from opening the year with eight straight losses.

Tasked with rebuilding the Bucs into a relevant playoff contender, Licht and coach Lovie Smith will now do so without Revis. They've already signed five free agents in two days, including new starting quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner.

It's Verner who most directly faces the challenge of living up to Revis' elite reputation. The 25-year-old, who shined in four seasons with the Titans and signed a four-year, $26-million deal, said Wednesday he's not trying to fill Revis' shoes so much as showing the Bucs they made a wise investment in signing him.

"It's hard to replace a guy like that," said Verner, who had five interceptions last year and tied for the league lead with 23 passes defended. "I'm going to come in and be the best Alterraun Verner I can be, the best football player I can be for this team. I think what they're looking for me to do, I can provide for this team. Hopefully, it's going to be leadership, determination and hard work, and hopefully my teammates can get fueled by that."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 9:43pm]


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