Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Revis talks could heat up

TAMPA — Tampa Bay's emerald water is dotted with islands of every size, shape and surname. Honeymoon. Davis. Harbour. But there might be room for an isle called Revis.

The Bucs have an interest in trading for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. That much, nearly everyone — including team officials — appears to agree on.

"I wouldn't count us out of anything because we want to keep our doors open," general manager Mark Dominik said.

But striking a deal for Revis, 27, is an enormous commitment of resources in terms of draft picks, finances and faith. If it is going to happen, talks will escalate during the three-day NFL owners meetings that begin Monday in Phoenix.

At the very least, it's the perfect venue for such discussions.

Tampa Bay began free agency about $30 million under the salary cap. And even after signing safety Dashon Goldson to a five-year deal worth $41.25 million ($22 million guaranteed), it is positioned financially to absorb a large contract.

The Bucs also have a desperate need for starting cornerbacks after owning the league's worst pass defense in 2012. If Dominik has learned anything after last offseason's swing-and-miss on cornerback Eric Wright, it's he wants to offer large contracts only to proven players.

It worked well a year ago, when the team signed receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks.

It could work with Revis, a three-time first-team All-Pro in his six seasons who nicknames the area of the field he covers "Revis Island" but is coming off a torn left ACL. He is owed only $5 million through next season, but any trade likely will require a renegotiated contract. And he has indicated he wants between $14 million and $16 million annually.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has shown no interest in a protracted negotiation with Revis. New general manager John Idzik, who worked with Dominik at the original One Buc Place, has publicly denied reports that he wants to trade him.

What about Revis' impact on the locker room?

His coach at the University of Pittsburgh, Dave Wannstedt, is the Bucs' new special teams coordinator and can vouch for his character. So can Jeff Hafley, Revis' position coach at Pittsburgh who now works with safeties in Tampa Bay.

Compensation — in terms of players and/or draft picks — is typically the biggest hurdle.

As far as the Jets are concerned, any conversations would have to begin with a first-round pick. The Bucs own the 13th overall. Until an agreement on compensation can be reached, it's unlikely the Jets would allow the Bucs — or any team — to begin negotiations with Revis' agent.

The Bucs might want to use their first-rounder on another cornerback. They've shown no interest in that position during free agency despite players taking one-year deals or getting less than what analysts predicted. That includes ex-Dolphin Sean Smith signing with Kansas City for three years and $18 million ($11 million guaranteed).

Aside from talks about Revis, owners will consider several rules proposals. They include eliminating the tuck rule, preventing ballcarriers and defenders from using the crown of their helmet in the open field, and other safety measures.

But by midweek, Bucs fans should have a better idea if Revis Island is moving to a warmer climate.

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