NFL Bible: Thoughts on the Revis Trade
Is it an insult to put someone out in a bay? Cause I like the sound of Revis Bay.
On Sunday, the widely expected rumor turned into reality as the the New York Jets finally agreed, in principle, to trade disgruntled CB Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 1st round pick in 2013 (13th overall) and a conditional 4th round pick in 2014 (that would probably become a 3rd). Since January, when it was publicly reported that Revis was likely to be traded, the Bucs have maintained the primarily location for the NFL’s top cornerback. Revis’ final destination came as no surprise, the Bucs practically bid against themselves as a market failed to open for the elite corner.
The Bucs’ secondary ranked last in the league yards allowed as they yielded almost 300 yards a game to opposing quarterbacks. In a conference where they face Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, AND Cam Newton, strengthening this unit was an absolute must. The addition of Revis, along with the signing of former 49er FS Dashon Goldson, should vastly improve the unit as the group was infused with youth, talent, and experience.
This move has now revealed the Jets’ long terms plans of rebuilding. New general manager John Izdik is clearly trying to establish a new regime, one where management will not cave into player hold outs. This deal creates ample cap space for the Jets, who have been forced to cut several veterans due to being over the $123 million maximum. It also frees up money in the future, as they obviously will not have to pay Revis a contract of $16 million a year. They will also control the 1st round of the draft as they hold two middle round picks, establishing them as prime players to trade come draft day.
Even without Revis the Jets should maintain an elite pass defense. Revis missed 13 games last year and the Jets finished 2nd overall in pass defense; imagine what Rex Ryan can do with two more 1st round picks on defense (should they draft this way).
However, to get Revis to sign off on the deal, the Bucs signed the start cornerback to a six year, $96 million contract, making him the highest (per year average) defensive player in the league. Revis finally received his wish; he’s paid as a franchise quarterback. However, Bucs’ GM Mark Dominik was wise and somewhat lucky to get his deal approved; the contract features no guaranteed money. Dominik has also expressed his confidence that his new acquisition will be ready in time for Week 1.
When examining this deal, the first year ($16 million) comes as virtually guaranteed. Theres no chance the organization would release this player without playing a down for the team. Likewise, Revis’ second year is almost guaranteed as a franchise is unlikely give up on a player they just traded a prime 1st round pick for.
For the 13th overall pick, it appears as though the Bucs got a steal. Just as recently as 2011, Revis had 4 ints (one returned 100 yards for a TD) and played outstanding pass defense. He’s probably the league’s best cover corner in the past decade. In just over 5 seasons (not counting 2012) he has 19 career interceptions. He’s as close as a lock down defender as a cornerback as there is.
After the first two years, Dominik and Revis’ representatives will likely renegotiate the terms of the contract, perhaps giving Revis more guaranteed money but less of a long term commitment to the organization. If they fail to come to an agreement, Revis could be a free agent who’s still in the tail end prime of his career. He could still be inline for another monster contract.
However, due to missing most of the 2012 season with a torn ACL, can Revis still claim to be the league’s best cornerback? Pre Adrian Peterson and his miraculous recovery, I would say no. Very little chance a player that relies on his ability to cut and acceleration would return to pre-injury form. But Revis is only 27, and as Peterson’s rehabilitation showed, players can now come back to pre-injury strength.
In evaluating this deal, both teams won. A rarity in professional sports.
The Jets received fair compensation for a player that has baggage and injury concerns. They are now able to start their rebuilding project and target replacement players for Revis and the players released earlier this offseason. For the Bucs, they receive a big name, playmaking cornerback that will immediately make a difference to their porous secondary. They also were able to refrain from giving Revis guaranteed money, which will look brilliant if the corner is unable to return to 100% and his knee doesn’t recover.
Now we just have to wait and see how long Jets’ coach Rex Ryan will last during this rebuilding regime, but that’s an article for another time.