Why Darrelle Revis gambled, accepting nonguaranteed deal from Bucs
Darrelle Revis is now officially a Buccaneer, but it didn’t come cheap.
He signed a six-year, $96 million contract that will pay him a tidy $16 million a year. It makes him, by far, the highest-paid player in franchise history and ties him with Buffalo’s Mario Williams for the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
But this contract, while enormously expensive, actually works well for the Bucs to an extent. Meanwhile, it’s not exactly perfect for Revis, either.
That’s because Revis’ contract contains no guaranteed money. Not a penny.
Why would he agree to such a deal? Because Revis almost certainly would have had to take less money annually under a deal that included significant guarantees, especially considering his recently-repaired knee injury.
Under the deal that Revis ultimately signed, the Bucs have significant insurance against knee problems or overall declining performance. Tampa Bay will have to pay him more than it wants to, but the team can cut Revis at any point during the deal and not be exposed to salary-cap implications in future years. Structuring a deal this way was the only way the Bucs would have committed this much money to Revis on an annual basis.
It's a risky proposition for Revis. In fact, it's actually somewhat surprising he agreed to it. But Revis is betting on himself here. If he plays well, he'll see quite a bit of that money in this contract. If he doesn't, he'll at least have earned more on a yearly basis before the deal is voided or restructured.
In 2013-14, barring an unmitigated disaster that results in Revis being cut after one season, he'll earn $32 million from Tampa Bay. Had he settled for a deal that had guarantees but paid only $12 or $13 million a year, there's no assurance the guarantees would have totaled more than his first two years of salary are going to pay him anyway.
It's an interesting contract, and not one many players are going to be willing to sign. But the Revis deal appears to be one that works for both sides, despite not being perfect for either.