In what will be remembered as one of the worst trades in team history, the Bucs released Darrelle Revis Wednesday, less than a year after sending the 13th overall draft pick in 2013 and a fourth-round choice this year to the New York Jets for the Pro Bowl cornerback.
Despite interest from several teams such as the Raiders and Browns, the Bucs were unsuccessful in trying to trade Revis over the past few days, primarily because he refused to restructure his $16-million per year contract.
Had Revis been on the roster by 4 p.m. today, the Bucs would've owed him a $1.5-million bonus and part with a third round pick in the 2014 draft instead of a fourth-rounder to complete the trade with the Jets.
In other team news, the Bucs agreed to a two-year deal with quarterback Josh McCown and are believed to be finalizing a deal with Bengals free agent offensive tackle Anthony Collins.
Wide receiver Ted Ginn, linebacker Dane Fletcher, cornerback Charles Tillman and center Evan Deitrich-Smith are making visits.
REVIS RELEASED: With so many needs on a team that finished 4-12 last season, the Bucs felt they needed to gain the $16-million in salary cap space held by Revis.
The Bucs already have agreed to deals with six unrestricted free agents since the signing period began at 4 p.m. Tuesday, including Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner. Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is visiting the team today.
"We would like to thank Darrelle for his time and effort with our organization last year," said Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. "Darrelle showed a lot of heart last year as he worked extremely hard to get himself back on the field following his knee injury sustained the previous season. We have specific ideas regarding the best way to build this defense and, while you never like to lose a good player, we believe this is in the best interests of our team moving forward. Darrelle was a true professional here in Tampa Bay and we wish him continued success in his career."
Revis, who was recovering from surgery on a torn left ACL when he was traded to the Bucs last season, did not appear in a game for the Bucs until the regular season opener against the Jets at Metlife Stadium.
He played well enough to earn his fifth Pro Bowl appearance, recording 50 tackles with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
But Revis' $16-million per year salary is roughly $5-million to $6-million more than the next highest-paid cornerback and prior to the free agency signing period Wednesday, he was the fourth-highest paid player in the league in terms of average salary. The other three are quarterbacks.
MCCOWN JOINS BUCS: Two years ago, Josh McCown was coaching high school football when Lovie Smith talked him into resuming his NFL career with the Chicago Bears.
Smith was persuasive again, signing McCown to a two-year deal with the Bucs Wednesday.
McCown had planned to visit the Houston Texans and New York Jets but cancelled those trips, one day after arriving in Tampa.
The 34-year-old veteran is coming off his best year as a pro, going 3-2 with the Bears with 13 touchdowns and one interception as the backup to Jay Cutler.
In Tampa Bay, McCown will at least be able to compete for the starting job against second-year pro Mike Glennon, an opportunity he didn't have in Chicago.
The Bucs moved their scheduled 3 p.m. press conference to 4:30, presumably so McCown and perhaps another potential free agent could be included in the gathering.
WATSON LEAVES: Former Bucs and Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson is signing with the Jaguars after visiting last night.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.